FAIRFAX, Va. (September 11, 2015) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring and Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh announced that Joseph Gaskins, 25, of Centreville, Va., was sentenced to 10 years in prison with an additional 35 years suspended by County Circuit Court Judge John M. Tran for the distribution of heroin, including a sale that resulted in the death of a 20 year old Herndon man.
“I am pleased with the outcome of this case and the strong message Judge Tran has sent with his sentence,” said Attorney General Mark Herring. “A young man died as a result of the defendant’s reckless and callous choices and that can’t be taken lightly. With heroin fatalities soaring in Northern Virginia my team and I are dedicated to creating partnerships and finding creative solutions to combat heroin addiction and distribution. We will not tolerate criminals profiting off of addiction, especially at the expense of human lives.”
“This case is a sad reminder that the distribution of narcotics has never been a victimless crime,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Morrogh.
Gaskins pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin, five counts of distribution of heroin, and one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin on June 11, 2015.
According to a statement of facts presented in open court, between January 2014 and August 2014, the defendant conspired with a Baltimore-area drug dealer to distribute heroin in the Centreville area of Fairfax County, Va. On January 6, 2014, the defendant sold heroin to a 20 year old Herndon man who died the following day of a drug overdose from the heroin that the defendant had supplied to him. On four other occasions in 2014, the defendant sold heroin to confidential police informants. Investigators also recovered heroin from the defendant when they arrested him in 2014.
This case was prosecuted by Virginia Assistant Attorney General Marc J. Birnbaum and Fairfax County Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert D. McClain following an investigation by the Fairfax County Police Department, Town of Herndon Police Department, and the Northern Virginia multi-jurisdiction grand jury.
As part of his five point plan to combat the troubling spike in heroin fatalities in Virginia, Attorney General Herring is partnering with local and federal prosecutors to pursue more cases against heroin dealers, especially those whose drugs lead to a death. He also gained passage of key legislation this year to help prevent heroin fatalities, and is currently developing training materials to assist law enforcement in combating heroin in their communities as a well as an educational campaign.