Federal Jury Convicts Portsmouth Man on Drug Conspiracy and Gun Charges
NORFOLK, Va. – Jason Marvin Saunders, 33, of Portsmouth, Virginia, was convicted today on narcotics conspiracy and gun charges, including conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine, and cocaine base, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Saunders’ twin brother and co-conspirator, Jeremy Lynn Saunders, previously pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and firearms charges, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison on June 25, 2015.
Saunders was indicted on January 7, 2015. According to court records and evidence at trial, from January 2012 to about August 2014, the Saunders brothers jointly distributed over 1,000 grams of heroin, over 5,000 grams of cocaine, and over 280 grams of cocaine base through an organization that they managed and used firearms to protect. On August 23, 2014, Saunders and his brother were involved in an exchange of gunfire with a rival drug organization at another location they operated at Appomattox Avenue in Portsmouth. In response to that incident, Saunders possessed a Taurus PT 145 Millennium Pro .45 Caliber pistol with 8 cartridges and a Ruger P85 9MM pistol. During the execution of a search warrant on February 6, 2014, at a different location, Saunders was found in possession of approximately 125 grams of cocaine powder, 50 grams of heroin, 16 grams of crack cocaine, scales, packaging materials, cutting agents, a Makarov Special Edition .380 Caliber semi-automatic pistol with 8 cartridges, a Rohm RG10 .22 Caliber revolver, and approximately $10,274 in U.S. currency.
Saunders faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when sentenced on October 14, 2015. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Karl C. Colder, Special Agent in Charge for DEA’s Washington Office, made the announcement after the verdicts were taken by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph DePadilla and Andrew Bosse prosecuted the case.
The case was investigated by the DEA’s Washington Office with the assistance of the Portsmouth Police Department as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program is a federal, multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:15cr2.