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Press Release

Roanoke Man Sentenced to 132 Months for Distributing Heroin

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia

ROANOKE, Va.- James Robert Banks, a Roanoke man responsible for distributing between one and three kilograms of heroin throughout the Roanoke area in 2019, was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke to 132 months in federal prison following his conviction earlier this year on federal drug distribution charges. Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar and Jesse Fong, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Field Office made the announcement today.

Banks, 32, pleaded guilty in June 2020 to one count of possession with the intent to distribute heroin.

“Heroin abuse continues to plague our communities in a cycle of painful abuse, and those that distribute it must face justice,” Acting United States Attorney Bubar said today. “Thanks to the work of the DEA and the members agencies of the Roanoke-area HIDTA on this investigation, there is less heroin on the streets of Roanoke today.”

Criminal charges against Banks arose from his sale of heroin on specific dates in August and November 2019.  According to court documents, law enforcement agents arranged for the controlled purchase of approximately $6,000 worth of heroin from Banks on two occasions. In both instances, Banks sold the heroin from a commercial auto repair facility on Centre Avenue in Roanoke, owned by his father.  In connection with his guilty plea to distribution charges, Banks has acknowledged distributing between one and three kilograms of heroin in the Roanoke area in 2019.   

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and member agencies of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA), including the City of Roanoke Police Department, Virginia State Police, Roanoke County Police Department, and Salem Police Department.  Additional support was provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar and Assistant United States Attorney Kari Munro prosecuted the case for the United States.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of law enforcement groups use evidence-based techniques to identify and address violent and related crime in local communities with the aim of focusing law enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders.  As part of this strategy, the PSN initiative involves partnerships with locally-based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Updated October 23, 2020