Federal prosecutors announced the plea deal early Tuesday afternoon. The defendant, 28-year-old Anthony Medrano, now faces up to five years in prison when he’s sentenced in August.
From a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia:
An Arlington man pleaded guilty today to willfully receiving a firearm while under indictment in Virginia state court.
According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement and other court records, Anthony Fernandez Medrano, 28, was indicted in Virginia state court in 2015 for possessing cocaine, a schedule II controlled substance. While still under indictment, and not lawfully able to purchase or possess firearms, Fernandez Medrano sought and purchased guns from a private party seller and signed bills of sale confirming the purchases.
Fernandez Medrano faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced on August 11. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Michael B. Boxler, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Smith III is prosecuting the case.
The Arlington County Police Department will accept the medicine, without any questions asked, as part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Saturday. The initiative is intended to help prevent prescription drug abuse, accidental ingestion and water contamination.
The fire stations, which will collect pills and patches from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, are at:
- 500 S. Glebe Road
- 4845 Lee Highway
- 1900 S. Walter Reed Drive
“Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse,” an Arlington County news release says. “Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.”
Residents who can’t participate in the event should throw their medicine in the trash, according to the county.
Photo via Wikimedia/Sponge
Hazmat Incident, Arrests on I-66 — Two people were arrested on drug charges Saturday after their SUV broke down on I-66 and police found a suspicious liquid in and a suspicious smell coming from the vehicle. Lanes of westbound I-66 were shut down while a hazmat team investigated the substance. [WUSA, NBC 4]
Man Arrested for Sexual Assault on Orange Line Train — A man allegedly exposed himself and then tried to force a woman to perform a sex act on an Orange Line train Monday afternoon. The incident happened as the train was approaching the Dunn Loring station, but the man was reportedly arrested in Arlington and held at the county jail. [WTOP]
APS Still Searching for More Space — Arlington Public Schools officials have been busy trying to add more high school seats as a student capacity crunch continues and is expected to get worse at the top grade levels. For now, APS appears to be focused on adding seats at existing high schools and adding additional capacity through new high school programs, like the just-launched Arlington Tech program, as opposed to opening a fourth comprehensive high school. [InsideNova]
Photo (above) of Rosie the Riveter event at the Netherlands Carillon courtesy Valerie Crotty
County Looking at Fire Station Alternatives — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved an agreement with Arlington Public Schools that would allow it to build a temporary fire station on the grounds of the new H-B Woodlawn school in Rosslyn. However, in response to parent concerns the Board directed county staff to look into potential alternative locations. [InsideNova, Arlington County]
Couple: Snow Melter Fumes Contaminated Our House — A couple who lives near Bluemont Park says diesel fumes from a snow melter that the county was using about 40 yards from their home this past winter has contaminated the home. The county paid for the couple to live in a hotel while the snow melter was running, in the wake of January’s blizzard. Now the couple wants the county to pay for a thorough cleaning of the home. [Washington Post]
Henry Gate to Reopen — The Henry Gate along Route 50 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will reopen to military bicyclists and pedestrians on Aug. 1. Among other expected benefits, the gate is expected to serve military users of Uber and Lyft; the ride hailing services are not available on the base. [Mobility Lab]
Police Escort Ducklings Across Road — An ACPD officers and a couple of “alert citizens” helped a mother duck and her ducklings cross N. Stafford Street on Friday. [Twitter]
More on Clarendon Drug Bust — One of the regular meetups for the alleged Clarendon drug ring was Whitlow’s on Wilson, where two of the suspects worked. “It was shocking, disappointing and frustrating to hear that any of this activity took place around our business and the neighborhood,” said Whitlow’s manager Jon Williams, noting that most other Clarendon bars were also named as areas of drug activity. [NBC Washington]
Board Approves Changes to Ballston Building — Originally proposed as an office building, the last building in the Founder’s Square project in Ballston will instead be built as a mixed use building, with a mix of retail, office and apartments. [Arlington County]
Nine people have been charged, accused of being part of a drug network that distributed marijuana, MDMA and cocaine in the neighborhood.
A tenth person was arrested and charged with making death threat against undercover officers.
From an ACPD press release:
Detectives assigned to the Arlington County Police Department Organized Crime Section – Vice / Drug Enforcement Unit and the Virginia State Police recently concluded a 7-month undercover investigation focused on drug distribution activity in the Clarendon area of Arlington County. During this time, undercover detectives conducted numerous purchases of narcotics. As a result of this intensive investigation, undercover officers identified a narcotics distribution network, seized a significant amount of cocaine, marijuana, MDMA, and THC and made 9 arrests.
The following individuals have been arrested as a result of this investigation:
- Kyle Bailey, 22, of Arlington VA has been charged with two counts of Distribution of Marijuana
- Michael Bramlett, 32, of Arlington VA has been charged with two counts of Distribution of Cocaine
- Benjamin Lee Callender, 31, of Woodbridge VA has been charged with two counts of Distribution of Cocaine and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine
- Victoriano Castro Reyes, 26, of Woodbridge VA has been charged with Distribution of Marijuana and Child Endangerment
- Amanda Mantanona, 24, of Woodbridge VA has been charged with Child Endangerment and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana
- Omar Small, 22, of Arlington VA has been charged with Distribution of Marijuana
- Joshua Swinton, 28, of Arlington VA has been charged with three counts of Distribution of Marijuana and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana
- Justin Terrell, 30, of Alexandria VA has been charged with two counts of Distribution of MDMA and Distribution of Cocaine
- Daryl Villanueva, 29 of Arlington VA has been charged with three counts of Distribution of Cocaine and Distribution of MDMA
In addition, after the initial phase of arrests were completed, the involved undercover officers began to receive death threats and threats of severe bodily harm. The threats were very graphic. Through further investigation, the source of these threats was identified and arrested without incident. Tesfayie Tesfa, 29, of Alexandria VA was arrested and charged with four counts of Obstruction of Justice and four counts of Death Threats by Text. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility.
It’s part of the National Take-Back Initiative, which is aimed at preventing prescription drug abuse. It also helps prevent accidental ingestion and the contamination of water supplies.
“The Arlington County Police Department, Arlington County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs,” ACPD said in a press release. “Bring your medications for disposal to the designated collection sites. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.”
The event will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the following locations.
- Fire Station #1 (500 S. Glebe Road)
- Fire Station #8 (4845 Lee Highway)
- Fire Station #9 (1900 S. Walter Reed Drive)
“Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse,” the press release notes. “Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.”
“If residents are unable to participate in this event, the Arlington County Department of Environmental Services advises residents to throw unwanted prescription drugs in the trash.”
County Board Work Sessions to Be Broadcast — Arlington TV, the county government’s cable channel, will begin broadcasting County Board work sessions on cable and online this month. First up: the riveting County Board work session on the FY 2017 budget, scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday. [Arlington County]
Meal Delivery Startup Now Serving Part of Arlington — Galley, a D.C.-based meal delivery startup, says it just expanded its delivery area to include Rosslyn, Courthouse and Clarendon.
ACPD Focusing on Heroin Use and Addiction — The Arlington County Police Department is joining other law enforcement agencies around the region in an initiative to try to curb the distribution, possession and use of heroin. For those battling addiction, there are a number of treatment options in Arlington. [Arlington County]
Schneider to Lead Thrive — Former Democratic County Board candidate Andrew Schneider has been named the new Executive Director of Arlington Thrive, effective today. Thrive is a nonprofit that provides same-day financial assistance to residents in crisis.
Board Thanks Legislators for Hotel Tax Bill — The Arlington County Board is offering its thanks to the state legislators who successfully shepherded Arlington’s hotel tax surcharge reauthorization through the Virginia General Assembly. [Arlington County]
The incident happened just before 3 a.m. Police say 26-year-old William Donovan of Vienna, Va. was sitting by himself at a table in the tiny pizzeria, snorting cocaine. A uniformed Arlington County police officer who was standing nearby witnessed the alleged drug use and went to arrest Donovan.
At that point Donovan, who police say was highly intoxicated, defiantly said something to the effect of “I’m going home tonight,” and took a “fighting stance,” according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Donovan began kicking and punching the officer, prompting a witness to jump in and help restrain him while additional officers sped to the scene, Sternbeck said.
Donovan was charged with possession of cocaine, two counts of assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and obstruction of justice, according to Sternbeck, and is being held without bond.
He “eventually apologized while being transported to jail,” Sternbeck noted.
‘No Drone Zone’ Reminder for Pope’s Visit — Pope Francis begins his three-day visit to D.C. this afternoon. The Arlington County Police Department and the FAA are reminding residents and visitors that the airspace around the District, including Arlington, is a “no drone zone.” [Twitter, FAA]
Widening of I-66 Inevitable, Says VDOT Chief — Widening I-66 to three lanes between the Dulles Connector Road and Ballston is an inevitability, says Virginia Transportation Sec. Aubrey Layne. However, VDOT will exhaust every alternative before moving forward with expansion, Layne said. [WTOP]
Celeb Posts Pic from Arts Center Installation — A giant dart on the front lawn of the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia Square is gaining some fame. Comedian Nick Swardson over the weekend posted on Instagram a photo of a woman jokingly posing as if the dart had hit her in the rear end. He was apparently unaware that the woman was DC’s 107.3 FM personality Sarah Fraser. The dart is part of a well-reviewed installation at AAC called “Play.” [Sarah Fraser]
Prescription Drug Take-Back Day — Arlington County will participating in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this coming Saturday. The police department will be accepting anonymous returns of pills and patches at fire stations 2, 8 and 9 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. [Arlington County]
New Office Lease in Rosslyn — Tax services Ryan, LLC has signed a lease for the 21st floor of the Rosslyn Twin Towers building. The towers at 1000 and 1100 Wilson Blvd are also home to Raytheon, SRI International, Sands Capital, Strategy&, Politico, WJLA and the Washington Free Beacon. [GlobeSt]
Pope Prayer Protest at DCA — Airport workers and a local pastor will hold a “worker pray-in” at Reagan National Airport this afternoon, in advance of the pope’s visit to D.C. Workers are seeking “a living wage, improved training and adequate resources.” [SEIU 32BJ]
Flickr pool photo by Edobson22207
Police say the couple was having an argument about finances in a rental car around 6:30 p.m. They parked the car at the corner of 15th Street S. and Eads Street and proceeded to fight in the street, police say. The male suspect then “attempted to force the female back into the vehicle but was unsuccessful.”
Police were called and officers spotted marijuana and drug paraphernalia “in plain view inside the vehicle.” A search of the vehicle revealed a host of other drugs, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
The pair, both D.C. residents, were arrested. The woman charged with possession of marijuana. The man was charged with possession of marijuana, attempted abduction, domestic assault and battery, possession of MDMA with the intent to distribute and possession of methamphetamine.
School Boundary ‘Refinements’ Approved, Parents Peeved — The Arlington School Board on Thursday approved a series of small “refinements” to elementary school boundaries in North Arlington by a 3-1 vote. The changes will impact a few dozen current McKinley and Tuckahoe elementary students over the next two school years, transferring those students to other nearby schools. Several parents whose kids are affected have contacted ARLnow.com, calling the process and subsequent decision “short sighted,” “pointless” and “a sham.” [Arlington Public Schools, InsideNova]
Big, Tire-Eating Pothole on Wilson Blvd — An Arlington resident says he got a flat tire after driving over a monster pothole in the left-hand lane of westbound Wilson Blvd at N. Patrick Henry Drive. Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services responded to the man’s tweet, saying repair crews have been notified. [Twitter]
ACPD Assists with Bust of Diner Owner — The owner of a popular Baltimore diner has been arrested in a cocaine sting that Arlington County police helped to arrange. Prosecutors say Anthony Vasiliades, owner of the Sip & Bite diner, which was featured on the TV show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” tried to buy $50,000 worth of cocaine from an undercover Arlington detective. [Baltimore Sun]
Casting Call for Arlington Cyclists — More than 50 people have signed up for a casting call for a promotional campaign that will highlight “everyday Arlington citizens who use a bicycle as means of commuting and/or recreation.” The casting call for the county-sponsored campaign, which will feature six short documentary films, ends today. [Modacity, Twitter]
County Planning Effort Launches — The Arlington County and School Boards have jointly appointed a 24-member “Facilities Study Committee” that is tasked with building “a consensus framework regarding the community’s future funding and facility needs.” The launch of the committee comes as Arlington Public Schools faces push back from residents as it tries to find county-owned land on which to build badly-needed new schools. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Brendan
Arlington Loses Lowest Unemployment Crown — Arlington’s years-long streak of having the lowest unemployment rate in Virginia has ended. In November Falls Church had the lowest jobless rate, at 3 percent, to 3.1 percent for Arlington. Statewide, Virginia’s unemployment rate fell from 4.8 percent in October to 4.5 percent in November. [InsideNova]
Arlington Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking — Arlington resident Anthony Tatum, 36, has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking, money laundering and other related crimes, according to federal prosecutors.Tatum and a co-conspirator were accused of distributing cocaine and heroin, primarily in Maryland. Tatum, who agreed to forfeit $108 million in cash, vehicles, jewelry and other items, reportedly lived in a Pentagon City apartment building. [Patch]
Pinkberry to Close? — The future of Arlington’s Pinkberry frozen yogurt store is uncertain. The local Pinkberry franchisee has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. The franchisee, which has stores in D.C., National Harbor, Clarendon and elsewhere in Northern Virginia, cited debts of more than $1.2 million in the filing. Those debts include $44,121 in back taxes owed to Arlington County. [Washington Business Journal]
Wardian Sets New Record — Arlington resident Michael Wardian, 40, has set a new world record for the fastest indoor 50K. Wardian covered the distance in 3:06:07 at a 200-meter indoor track in Hagerstown, Md. That shatters his former world record, of 3:12:13, set at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center in Arlington. [Herald-Mail]
Arlington Native Releases Music Video — Arlington-born rapper C-Luv has released a new music video for his track “Grind.” The video features scenes shot around Arlington, including in a skatepark, Wakefield High School and in the Nauck neighborhood. [YouTube – NSFW]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Update at 6:30 p.m.: Investigators have determined that the substances found in the apartment were cleaning supplies and chemicals such as acetone, police spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm told ARLnow.com. The substances were held in “weird containers,” for reasons unknown. Hazmat teams have cleared the scene.
Earlier: Police and the Arlington County hazmat team are investigating a possible drug lab found in a Crystal City apartment.
Arlington County Police, Virginia State Police and the hazmat team were called to the Crystal Square Apartments (1515 Jefferson Davis Highway) this afternoon after the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office found “suspicious items” and substances in an apartment during an eviction. The items include laboratory equipment like respirators, scales and beakers, according to ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
The hazmat team is performing tests on the items to determine what they are and if they’re hazardous. While the equipment may be for some sort of drug lab, it’s not suspected to be a meth lab, which would have prompted evacuations. So far, the building has not been evacuated, Malcolm said.
There have been no reports of any health problems in the apartment building nor of any arrests made by police. Police have closed a portion of 15th Street S. near the scene as the investigation continues.
Prosecutors say police began investigating Ogregory Hamilton after receiving a tip that the firefighter was dealing drugs. Earlier this year, police also received a tip that the Dumfries resident intended to sell cocaine near Carpool in Ballston on April 17. Detectives staked out the area and observed Hamilton arrive and park at the designated spot for the planned deal.
Police ended up detaining Hamilton and found cocaine inside the trunk during a search of his vehicle, according to a statement of facts entered as part of the plea. Police also searched his home and found a digital scale and baggies commonly used for packaging drugs. The baggies reportedly also had a white, powdery residue that appeared to be cocaine.
There is no indication that Hamilton dealt cocaine on county time or used any county resources to carry out any transactions, according to prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to a lower charge of cocaine possession earlier this month.
Hamilton’s sentencing is set for January 30, 2015.
Dr. Derron McRae Simon, who ran the WithinMe MD medical clinic at 5275 Lee Hwy in Arlington, has been indicted on charges that he ran an oxycodone distribution ring.
Starting in February 2013, federal prosecutors say Simon and five co-conspirators wrote, filled and sold fraudulent prescriptions for more than 11,000 oxycodone pills and “other controlled substances.” The pills had a total value of nearly $750,000 and Simon sold the prescriptions for between $500 and $1,000, according to prosecutors.
“Simon allegedly wrote and sold hundreds of prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled substances, despite knowing that the individuals in whose names the prescriptions were written were abusing, misusing, distributing, and/or selling the drugs,” according to a press release. “Simon allegedly had never met many of these purported patients, and he also wrote prescriptions in the names of his five co-conspirators, as well as friends, relatives, and fictitious individuals.”
Simon, 45, is listed as a Midlothian, Va. resident. Among the co-conspirators named by prosecutors is Arlington resident Linda Dao, 21, and Falls Church residents Ereida Escobar, 23, and Michael Harris, 21. They are charged with conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances and possession with the intent to distribute controlled substances.
“According to the indictment, Simon directed Escobar, a receptionist and medical assistant at Simon’s practice, to confirm calls from pharmacists seeking to verify his oxycodone prescriptions,” the press release said. “Simon also allegedly directed Escobar to create fraudulent patient history forms and medical records to make it appear that these individuals were actually legitimate patients.”
The FBI’s Washington Field Office investigated the case.
All six suspects are facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine if convicted on the conspiracy or possession charges. Simon faces an addition one to 40 years in prison if convicted on three separate charges of distributing a controlled substance to persons under the age of 21. Simon and another conspirator are also charged with identity fraud.
Yelp reviews for the WithinMe clinic — which specialized in weight loss and hormone therapy — were not complimentary, especially after the clinic closed.
“I think they went out of business,” one reviewer said. “I have no idea what is going on. No one is answering the phones and the vm is full without even an answering machine introduction”
“If I could give no stars I would,” said another reviewer. “I purchased a groupon and had an appointment on June 23rd – I still have not recieved [sic] the B-12 shots.”
Photo via Google Maps