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Press Release

District Woman Sentenced for Distributing Synthetic Marijuana

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Woman Arrested After Making Sales in Northeast Washington

            WASHINGTON – Briana Barnes, 20, of Washington, D.C., has been sentenced to six months of incarceration on a charge stemming from an investigation into the sales of synthetic cannabinoids in Northeast Washington, announced U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Barnes pled guilty in August 2018, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to a charge of unlawful possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, a District of Columbia offense. She was sentenced on Nov. 6, 2018 by the Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson. Following her jail term, she will be placed on two years of supervised release.

            According to the government's evidence, on Saturday Dec. 31, 2016, at about 3:30 p.m., members of MPD’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit were observing the 2200 Block of S Street NE, looking for narcotics transactions in the area. An undercover MPD officer, while parked in front of 2210 Adams Place NE, observed a black four-door Mercedes sedan bearing the State of Virginia tags with a male in the driver’s seat and Barnes seated on the passenger side.

            The officer observed both people making what appeared to be illegal drug transactions from the driver and passenger-side windows of the vehicle. In addition, the officer witnessed, on several occasions, an unknown amount of currency exchanged between pedestrians and the people in the car; in return, Barnes and the man would hand those persons a black unknown package out of both sides of the vehicle’s windows. The undercover officer broadcast an in-depth lookout for the vehicle and driver to the MPD arrest team and gave a signal for the team to move in and stop the vehicle. At that point, the man fled the scene at a high rate of speed and sped past traffic stop signs or posted speed limits. He and Barnes were subsequently caught in the rear of a building in the 2200 block of Rand Place NE and taken into custody.

            Recovered from the vehicle on the rear floorboard, behind the front passenger seat, was a large black garbage bag containing 64 black pouches and a large metric scale.  Contained within each black pouch was plant material consistent with a synthetic cannabinoid product.  The contents of the pouches collectively totaled approximately 2,949.5 grams of a synthetic cannabinoid, FUB-AMB, also commonly called synthetic marijuana.

            In her plea, Barnes admitted that she voluntarily and purposely possessed the controlled substance and did so with the intent to distribute the controlled substance to others. The case against the man remains pending in the U.S. District Court.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu and Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. They expressed appreciation for the efforts of those who worked in the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Jeannette Litz and Teesha Tobias and Legal Intern Nikeesha D. Nath. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory V. Cole, who prosecuted the case.

Updated November 7, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 18-307