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Press Release

Bristol, Virginia Man Sentenced on Federal Drug Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
John Lapis Maintained a Drug House Where at Least Two Shootings Happened

Abingdon, VIRGINIA – A Bristol man, who maintained a residence used for drug distribution and at which two acts of violence occurred, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced.

John James Lapis, 40, was sentenced yesterday to imprisonment for a term of 42 months to be followed by supervised release for a term of 36 months.  Lapis previously pleaded guilty to one count of maintaining a place for the distribution of controlled substances.  At his guilty plea hearing, Lapis admitted to being a drug user who maintained a residence on Safari Drive in Bristol, Virginia for the purpose of allowing others to buy and sell controlled substances. In exchange for the use of the residence, Lapis received drugs for his own use.

Between January 2016 and June 2017, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded to over 50 complaints at the residence, including over 100 calls and texts concerning activity at the residence. These calls and texts included complaints of heavy traffic in and out of the residence. In response, law enforcement conducted traffic stops of vehicles leaving the Safari Drive location. During some of the stops, narcotics were found. During one attempted traffic stop, a driver did not follow the officers’ directions and a police chase took place. After apprehending the driver, officers found a large amount of methamphetamine and a firearm in the vehicle.  In June 2017, a search warrant was executed at the residence, and a small amount of methamphetamine was found.

In October 2016, a drug trafficker was shot and killed at the residence. Through numerous interviews by law enforcement, it was determined that the victim was killed, at least in part, due to a drug debt. In February 2017, another shooting took place at the residence, again over a drug debt.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Town of Abingdon Police Department, Bristol Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated April 10, 2018