Two plead guilty in connection to ‘Operation Clean Sweep’
Two of the 21 suspects arrested in last year’s “Clean Sweep” operation plead guilty to multiple drug charges last Wednesday.
Judge Harry T. Taliaferro III presided over both cases.
On Feb. 27 in Richmond County Circuit Court, Kirk Kendall Newton, 31, of Hague, agreed to two counts of selling drugs on or near school property and to one count of the sale, manufacturing or possession of a controlled substance in light of evidence. Newton was arrested on all three charges on Nov. 1, 2012.
Investigator Mark Taylor, of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, reported to the court that Newton spoke to informants at the Rappahannock Community College (RCC) in the Town of Warsaw on May 21 and May 29.
Taylor said that Newton sold Oxycotin and marijuana to the informants on the campus grounds on both occasions.
“If you sell any drug within 1,000 feet of school property [which includes day care centers], it’s an automatic felony,” said Taylor, who added that an individual could receive a misdemeanor for selling marijuana as well as an additional felony for selling the drug on school property.
Newtown was charged with two misdemeanors in addition to the three felonies…one count of eluding police and one count of the sale and distribution of marijuana.
Richmond County Commonwealth’s Attorney Wayne Emery nolle prossed both misdemeanors, deciding instead to pursue Newton’s felony charges of distribution.
Newton was sentenced to 25 years with 22 years suspended, leaving him three years to serve in a penitentiary. He was also fined $10,000 with $9,000 suspended.
Upon Newton’s release, he was ordered to serve 25 years of peace and good behavior and was given supervised probation for an indefinite period of time.
Court costs for Newton totaled $2,357.50.
Scott Ryan Phillips, 26, of Callao, pleaded guilty to three counts of the sale, manufacturing and possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 15 years, with 14 years and eight months suspended. He was arrested on Nov. 1, 2012.
Phillips was ordered to follow, upon release, 15 years of peace and good behavior and two years of supervised probation. Court costs for Phillips came to $2,425.
Taylor reported that on May 23, May 25 and May 29, informants met with Phillips inside the Merita Bread store in Warsaw, where Phillips was an employee.
On all three occasions, Taylor said informants purchased a Schedule 3 substance from the arrestee and turned it over to Captain Stephen B. Smith of the Richmond County’s Sheriff’s Office.
Phillips admitted in court that he was selling his own prescription medication to the informants over the counter inside the bread store.
Following his sentencing, Phillips said his daughter was sick and that she had been in the hospital for two weeks. He requested that he spend time with her for two days before serving his sentence.
However, when Judge Taliaferro asked Phillips’ attorney if he knew that his client’s daughter was in the hospital, he replied that he didn’t.
Taylor said that to his understanding, Phillips went to jail that day.
“If he had contacted his attorney ahead of time and said this, where his attorney could then say, ‘Yes I can corroborate this, this is true,’ the judge may have waited [on beginning sentencing] before he went to jail,” said Taylor.