Plea deal in cocaine case

Posted: January 31, 2014

The Winchester Star


HARRISONBURG — The seventh member of an eight-person crack cocaine ring pleaded guilty this week to conspiring to possess and distribute the drug in and around Winchester.

Ethan Jackson made the plea Jan. 13 as part of an agreement in U.S. District Court.

From February 2012 to June 5, 2013, Jackson, along with Kareem Robinson, Wendal Ferguson, Lacy Shuck, Jeremiah McMillan, Andrew Thomas, Bobby Stewart Jr. and Susan Ruppenthal conspired to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, according to an August indictment.

Jackson agreed to serve 10 years in prison by pleading guilty to one count of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine. He also agreed to forfeit $373.

According to a statement of facts filed in the court, Jackson, Robinson and Stewart traveled to Winchester from their homes in Clewiston, Fla., to distribute crack cocaine.

McMillan similarly traveled from his home in Clewiston to sell drugs in the Winchester area, but focused on the distribution of opiates in the form of prescription pills. He assisted, however, in selling and distributing crack cocaine, according to the statement of facts.

“Robinson, Jackson, Stewart and McMillan sold crack cocaine generally in $50 to $500 quantities to both end-users and further distributors,” the document states. “Robinson, Jackson and Stewart, in particular, would make regular trips to and from Florida at least every three weeks, and would return with drugs that included multiple-ounce amounts of crack each time (regularly 10 ounces at a time), as well as powder cocaine.”

Jackson, Robinson, Stewart and McMillan generally operated from hotels in Winchester while they were in the area. Shuck and other co-conspirators also stayed in these hotels, according to the statement of facts.

On May 10, officers searched Jackson’s room at the Super 8 motel, just east of Winchester, and found 61.4 grams of crack in plastic baggies hidden in Jackson’s groin area and a digital scale, according to the statement.

Robinson, Ruppenthal, Thomas, Ferguson, Stewart and McMillan have also made plea agreements in the case.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at