On Wednesday, February 15, 2017, Jayson Mickle, 31, of Hampton, was sentenced to 17.5 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues.
Mickle plead guilty on June 27, 2016, following a joint investigation initiated by the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office, Tri-Rivers Drug Task Force, Department of Homeland Security and the United States Attorney’s Office (Eastern District of Virginia) in 2012. After three years of tireless undercover narcotics investigations in Gloucester County for the distribution of synthetic narcotics, five independent shops were closed and the owners arrested for their role in selling the highly addictive and destructive substances. Below are the storefronts which were closed as a result of the joint investigation:
“A Lil of This n That”
“Hampton Pipe and Tobacco”
“High Tyde Tobacco and Trading”
Mickle, who owned Hampton Pipe and Tobacco in Gloucester, also owned shops in Newport News, Hampton and Norfolk. Mickle would eventually begin a wholesale operation online formerly known as Blazin Herbs. He became a large scale spice distributor, purchasing in excess of 1,000 kilograms of spice for resale. Mickle’s retail business grossed almost $10 million from spice sales between 2010 and 2012. Mickle was a major distributor of synthetic narcotics in Gloucester County. The U. S. Attorney’s Office said that Mickle used a significant portion of the drug proceeds to purchase over two dozen real estate properties, which he was ordered to forfeit as part of his sentencing agreement.
Sheriff Darrell Warren, following his election in 2012, made it a top priority to rid the county of synthetic narcotics, after witnessing firsthand the devastating and tragic effects the drugs were having on the community. At the peak of the community devastation, Warren met with Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Eric Hurt to discuss the possibility for federal prosecution of the offenders, after learning that federal laws were likely more responsive to the issue than the laws for the commonwealth at the time. AUSA Eric Hurt, recognized the significance of the community problem, agreed to accept the challenge and adopted the case, despite having no legal precedent to compare the case to. Additionally, Sheriff Warren credits his narcotics investigators, for their hard work and dedication toward resolving the community epidemic. He would also like to recognize the significant contributions by his federal, state and local law enforcement partners for working collectively and efficiently during the three-year period.
A copy of the related press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:15-cr-18.