WM drug bust cases sent to higher court

srobertsjr@vagazette.com

After eight separate hearings, six people charged in connection with an alleged drug possession and distribution bust at the College of William and Mary will see their cases go before a grand jury on Sept. 19.

The cases of Biloliddin Tulamirza, Nicolas Manuel, Timothy Pryor, Devin Moore, Daniel McBride and Alexander Foley will all be heard by a six-member grand jury in Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court on Sept. 19 so the jury can determine whether or not the men are likely guilty of a crime.

Each of the men waived his right to a preliminary hearing before a judge before the grand jury meets.

The men do not need to appear in court on Sept. 19.

Two women charged in connection with the drug bust also made an appearance at the Williamsburg-James City County General District Court on Aug. 9.

Prosecutors reduced a felony charge of distribution of marijuana against Shannon Cannaday to a misdemeanor. The Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, Joshua Deford, on the case decided not to prosecute Cannaday on a separate felony charge of distributing a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.

Cannaday entered into an agreement with the court to withhold findings on the misdemeanor so long as she meets the terms of the agreement including working 100 hours of community service, paying $161 in court costs, and staying on track with her probation.

Cannaday worked 34 hours of community service before her Aug. 9 hearing, and the judge ordered her to work a total of 100 hours as well as pay the court costs.

The parallel legal and life consequences have already been severe for Cannaday, her attorney State Sen. Tommy Norment, R-James City County, said.

The straight-A student was dismissed by the college for the fall 2018 semester, Norment said in court.

Cannaday is now enrolled at Thomas Nelson Community College and set to take three courses in the fall, Norment said. She doesn’t want to lose her dream of becoming a teacher.

Caroline Falvey was charged with possession of marijuana, but the court gave her a deferred disposition until Aug. 8, 2019.

For the six men, prosecutors chose not to pursue many of the charges against each of them.

Tulamirza faces a charge of distributing a controlled substance on a college campus, while Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Courtney Hagge decided not to prosecute the charges of distributing marijuana or selling marijuana on school grounds.

Manuel faced a felony charge of distributing controlled substances, but prosecutors reduced that charge to a misdemeanor. Prosecutors decided not to prosecute Manuel on the charge of distributing controlled substances within 1,000 feet of a school.

Pryor faces a felony charge of distribution of marijuana. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing before the charge is considered by a grand jury.

Moore faces two felony charges of distributing controlled substances, and he waived his right to a preliminary hearing before the charges are considered by a grand jury.

Prosecutors decided not to prosecute Moore on nine additional drug distribution charges.

McBride faces a felony charge of distributing controlled substances from the alleged drug bust.

Standing in an orange Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail jumpsuit, McBride watched as prosecutors decided not to prosecute him on six other charges.

Foley faces a felony charge of distributing controlled substances. Prosecutors decided not to pursue an additional charge against him of distributing controlled substances on college grounds.

Eleven people including College of William and Mary students, a visiting professor and a staff member were arrested in April on drug distribution charges in what Williamsburg Police said was the first phase of what has already been a months-long joint investigation with the Tri-Rivers Drug Task Force, according to Virginia Gazette archives.

Williamsburg Police, along with the drug task force, seized various drugs, including LSD, cocaine, psilocybin (mushrooms), opioids, amphetamines, steroids, hashish and marijuana, along with about $14,000 in cash, according to Virginia Gazette archives.

The alleged offenses took place between Dec. 7 and April 17, according to online court records, according to Virginia Gazette archives.

The criminal investigation began when police received information about unreported sexual assaults due to an increase in drug activity occurring on and nearby the William and Mary campus, according to Virginia Gazette archives.

Williamsburg Police Department spokesman Maj. Greg Riley said the information aided in the criminal investigation, which targeted ongoing drug activity as of April, according to Virginia Gazette archives.

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329 or on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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