A 53-year-old Winchester man will serve up to 2½ years in federal prison for participation in a cocaine and eutylone dealing ring in West Virginia.
In a plea bargain in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on Tuesday, Charles O’Neal Jackson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess cocaine and eutylone (a synthetic stimulant) with intent to distribute. A charge of unlawful communication, over drug-related calls Jackson made, was dropped as part of the agreement.
The sentencing is connected to drug dealing in Berkeley and Jefferson counties in West Virginia between October of 2019 and April of 2020, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of West Virginia. Jackson was one of seven people, including his wife, Misty Rose Jackson, who were indicted in October.
Charles Jackson's role involved dealing about three ounces of crack cocaine, according to Stacy Bishop, office spokeswoman. The case of Misty Rose Jackson, listed as a Martinsburg resident in the release, is pending.
Crack is a derivative of powder cocaine. An ounce costs about $1,300 on the street locally, according to Joshua T. Price, a Virginia State Police special agent and head of the Northwestern Regional Drug and Gang Task Force. It is often sold locally by the gram with a gram costing about $100.
In a separate, pending case in Winchester General District Court, Jackson is accused of selling crack out of his home in the 1000 block of Woodstock Lane. An informant working with the task force bought crack from Jackson on Feb. 25, 2020, according to a criminal complaint from Sgt. Travis "T.J." Medina, a Frederick County Sheriff's Office investigator assigned to the task force.
Jackson was a low-level dealer in the federal case, according to attorney Thomas G. Dyer, his court-appointed lawyer. He said the drugs were coming from Philadelphia and Jackson had little or no contact with the alleged drug ring leader Michael Pierre Christian.
"Jackson was on the low end of things at the retail level," said Dyer, an attorney since 1987. "That's how these loose-knit conspiracies work."
Jackson, a car detailer and father of two, faced up to 20 years imprisonment, but Dyer said his sentencing guidelines recommended between 30 to 37 months. In 1990, Jackson was convicted in Winchester Circuit Court of cocaine distribution and sentenced to 70 years with 53 years suspended. In 2006, he was convicted of possession with intent to distribute and sentenced to three years with two suspended.
Dyer said Jackson's prior criminal record didn't work against him because of a federal "safety valve" law designed to reduce prison overcrowding by not giving lengthy sentences to non-violent, small-time dealers. Jackson qualified because his previous convictions were at least 15 years ago. Jackson, who cooperated with authorities, received a "one-level" reduction recommendation from the prosecution, according to court documents.
"It was a fair sentence," Dyer said.