A 29-year-old Halifax resident will serve a total of seven years in prison for five felonies, including three related to distribution of a controlled substance, after pleading guilty to the charges Friday in Halifax County Circuit Court.
Pursuant to a plea agreement with the commonwealth, Travis Alastair Ragsdale pleaded guilty to distribution of methamphetamine, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, distribution of heroin and two counts of money laundering, according to Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin.
Judge Kimberley S. White sentenced Ragsdale to 20 years in prison, with all but five years suspended, for methamphetamine distribution, with three of those years the mandatory minimum.
The court sentenced Ragsdale to 10 years in prison, with all but two suspended, for distribution of a Schedule I/II controlled substance.
The court also sentenced Ragsdale to a 10-year suspended prison term for distribution of a Schedule I/II controlled substance, and five-year suspended terms for the pair of convictions for conducting an unlawful financial transaction.
The court ordered Ragsdale receive credit for time served, ordered the suspended portions of Ragsdale’s sentence be conditioned on his good behavior for 60 years, beginning immediately, it ordered him to be placed on probation for two years, and it ordered his operator’s license to be suspended for a total of 18 months.
White also ordered Ragsdale to pay a $10,000 fine and pay $13,000 restitution to the Virginia State Police BCI Fund within two years of his release.
“Only after close consultation with investigators of the Halifax/South Boston Regional Narcotics and Gang Task Force, and with their support, did we agree that this was the appropriate disposition of the case,” said Martin.
The drug charges against Ragsdale resulted from a lengthy investigation by the Halifax/South Boston Regional Narcotics and Gang Task Force, according to Martin.
“On Feb. 3, 2018, Ragsdale, conspiring with others, sold a large quantity of methamphetamine that would have yielded approximately $16,000 (street value),” said Martin.
“Ragsdale deposited money received from his drug sales into a checking account on two separate occasions. Over the course of the investigation, members of the Halifax/South Boston Regional Narcotics and Gang Task force put in hundreds of work hours and spent over $13,000 to bring Ragsdale to justice.
“Ragsdale is required to repay this expense to the Virginia State Police as one of the conditions of his suspended sentence. We commend the Halifax/South Boston Regional Narcotics and Gang Task Force for their hard work,” said Martin.
Every case is unique, added Martin. “We always take into account the risks and evidentiary issues in the case and carefully consider the appropriate sentence necessary to achieve justice,” she said.
“After careful consideration of the issues in the case, we made the decision that seven years was the right disposition, with the full support of law enforcement. Every drug dealer removed from the streets makes this community stronger in the fight against the opioid crisis; but we need the community’s help,” the prosecutor said.
“If you have any concerns about drug activity in your area, or information that would help keep these dangerous substances off of our streets, please contact members of the Task Force at 434-517-0034. They will accept anonymous tips,” she added.
Ragsdale, who was wanted on two sealed indictments issued by the Halifax County Grand Jury, was arrested in March 2018 as the result of a traffic stop in the town of South Boston, according to Virginia State Police Special Agent Raymond George III.
Ragsdale, a Halifax native, was arrested by Halifax/South Boston Regional Narcotic and Gang Task Force Officers Gray Nunn and Tom Lewis without incident.
Officer Allen Powell of the South Boston Police Department and Deputy Giles Jones with the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office also assisted with the arrest of Ragsdale.
Ragsdale was wanted on charges of distribution of methamphetamine and conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.
According to a release, Ragsdale had been one of the subjects of an ongoing criminal investigation that had been active over the past year.
The Halifax/South Boston Regional Narcotic and Gang Task Force is comprised of South Boston Police Department, Halifax Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police.
Other court cases
• Ashley Elizabeth Chandler, 34, of South Boston pleaded guilty Friday to felony charges for possession of a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance.
Pursuant to a plea agreement with the commonwealth, White sentenced Chandler to 10 years in prison for the possession charge, with all but one year suspended, and White sentenced Chandler to a five-year suspended term for the distribution charge.
White ordered the suspended portion of Chandler’s sentence be conditioned on her good behavior for 15 years, and she ordered the defendant to be placed on probation for two years upon her release.
White also ordered Chandler to undergo a substance abuse assessment.
• Anthony Paul Ali Jr., 23, of Halifax will serve 12 months in jail for a probation violation after a sentencing hearing on Friday.
White imposed a previous five-year prison sentence and suspended all but 12 months to serve for the probation violation.
White ordered the suspended portion of Ali’s sentence be conditioned on his good behavior for five years and ordered him to be placed on probation for two years.
• Leondrae Laquay Tuck, 21, of Halifax was convicted Friday of a probation violation.
White revoked six months of Tuck’s previously suspended jail term for the violation, and she extended the defendant’s probationary period for 12 months upon his release.
• Rodney Dean Bowman, 52, of Virgilina was convicted Friday of a probation violation.
White revoked four years and six months of Bowman’s previously suspended jail term and re-suspended all but 60 days, and she ordered Bowman’s probationary period to be extended for two years following his release.
• Alvin Auntonio Stewart, 39, of Danville had his earlier prison sentence of six months and 60 days for four related driving charges modified after a motions hearing on Friday.
White sentenced Stewart in September to an effective six months and 60 days in jail for four charges including eluding police, a first offense of DWI, reckless driving and driving on a revoked license.
White amended Stewart’s sentence to suspend all time except that already served, three months and nine days, and she relieved Stewart of community service requirements.
White ordered the suspended portions of Stewart’s sentence be conditioned on his good behavior for five years, beginning immediately, and she reduced the defendant’s probationary period to 12 months, beginning immediately.