School rule: 1,000 feet add felony drug charge

news-garcia-sanchezCharlottesville resident Carlos Wilfredo Garcia Sanchez, 38, already is trouble for allegedly possessing a half-kilo of cocaine, but getting busted within 1,000 feet of UVA property tacks on another felony charge.

Of the eight alleged drug dealers arrested by the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force recently, three of the suspects picked up additional felony charges for allegedly plying their trade within a legal buffer zone around a school– in one case, the University of Virginia.

An October 20 press release from JADE indicates that 26-year-olds Jose N. Cano of Woodridge and Jorge Saul Rosales-Garcia of Fredericksburg were attempting to sell 4.5 ounces of cocaine around 11am October 20 in the 1800 block of Seminole Trail. The two men picked up an additional felony charge because the alleged transaction occurred within 1,000 feet of a school, a violation of 18.2-255.2 in the Virginia Code.

JADE's Lieutenant Don Campbell would not release the exact location at which the out-of-towners were arrested, but he says the proximate school is Woodbrook Elementary and that JADE knew the distance was less than 1,000-feet because Albemarle police told them.

"We wouldn't have charged it if it wasn't right," says Campbell.

According to Google maps, the Crutchfield electronics store lies in the 1800 block of Seminole Trail. So is Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard. Though parts of each of their respective shopping centers, Rio Hill and Woodbrook, may lie within 1,000 feet of a school, neither offers a clear view of the closest school.

Campbell also says Cano and Rosales-Garcia are held without bond because of the amount of coke and because they're illegal aliens. They're back in court Thursday, November 19.

Carlos Wilfredo Garcia Sanchez, 38, also picked up a 1,000-foot penalty charge when he was arrested October 22, allegedly with a considerably larger cache of cocaine–- approximately 500 grams worth. A JADE release puts his bust in the 2200 block of Barracks Road and again, Campbell refuses to disclose the exact location.

The nearby school in that bust? UVA.

Google Maps places the 2200 block of Barracks Road near the U.S. 250/29 Bypass– the 7-Eleven's address is 2218 Barracks Road. And searching nearby schools turns up UVA softball fields close to UVA Law School.

The Virginia statute is wide-sweeping in its definition of schools, and includes four-year institutions of higher learning, school bus stops, libraries, and publicly owned community centers. The felony charge carries a minimum of one year in jail and a maximum $100,000 fine, on top of the possession with intent to distribute charges the men already face.

"You can sell drugs one time and be charged with two offenses," says Public Defender Jim Hingeley, whose office is representing Cano and Rosales-Garcia. He says he's not familiar with the details of their two cases, but agreed to discuss the statute in general.

"The question the community might be concerned with is if you don't know a school is within 1,000 feet, should you be punished twice?" asks Hingeley. He points out that while the statute is designed to punish dealers who sell drugs to kids, it also ensnares those who have no intention of selling to students.

In 1990, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled in Commonwealth v. Burns that even if school is not in session and no children are involved, the threat of harm to children is present, and the court upheld a conviction.

How the 1,000 feet is measured was an issue in a 2008 case in which Amherst High star quarterback and Virginia Tech recruit Peter Rose allegedly sold pot to an undercover officer at a McDonald's. Amherst Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie Maddox measured 1,000 feet as the crow flies from any corner of school property, which places the fast food restaurant 694 feet through the woods, according to a WSET-TV13 report.

Rose's defense attorney, Joe Sanzone, argued that the distance should be measured by how one would actually travel and that no one cuts through the woods to get to the McDonald's from school.

"You couldn't even see the school," says Sanzone. "There was no trail, and no one ever took that route." And his client's pot sale would have been a misdemeanor, but the 1,000-foot rule made it a felony.

"Is it that much worse than if it's 1,001 feet?" asks Sanzone. "Why pick this arbitrary distance? Why pick an arbitrary way of travel?"

How the law is enforced can be arbitrary, as well, says Sanzone. "Let's say UVA has a satellite parking lot on I-64. You can be driving by and be charged. What if it's a school for the elderly? It lends itself to a lot of nonsensical applications."

Sanzone says he understands the law is trying to prevent people from selling drugs in front of schools, but it isn't a deterrent when the "geographically unaware" don't know they're near a school.

"I think it looks good for politicians," he says. "It looks like a problem is being solved."


If they are sitting in jail waiting to get sent back to wherever they came from, they sure will get free health care. Gotta keep those criminals healthy, ya know! And three hot meals a day, and shelter, none of which they are going to end up paying for, especially since I am willing to bet they never paid taxes to the state for their hard-earned income, either.

Maybe if they had deported the cretins in the first place we would not need to have the discussion of how many feet are involved.

I would bet money they have records and were let go.

By the way according to Obama they are not illegal alien drug dealers they are "undocumanted workers"

I guess they are documented now... does that mean they will be given free health care?

Additional charges of any sort gives the Cop Shoppe leverage in plea agreements. It's an old trick. "We'll drop the reckless driving charge if you enter a guilty plea to the auto theft".

Lisa, so glad you wrote this article and that in America we can agree to disagree. The Hook is my favorite local paper, and has the best local stories that would never be told without your, and others ace reporting, and willingness and talent to dig and get the nitty-gritty
of the real story behind the sound bites we get from other local media. Thanks Lisa keep digging !

Is this Lisa Provence lady for real? You mean she actually wrote an entire story complaining about the unfairness of charging a drug dealer for selling drugs within 1000 feet of school zone when the actual property couldn’t be seen?

Hey Lisa, here's a worthy news story for you...Don't sell drugs and you won't have to worry about the placement of a school. Or better yet, why not cover the real story here”Šthe problem America is having with illegal immigrants and their transportation/dealing of drugs in our country?

Never mind, that story is reserved for professional news anchors and reporters. Not some pathetic, HOOKed on crack outfit like the Hook.

You, your publication and your articles are a joke!

It might be interesting to do a map of Charlottesville... is there anywhere in the city that is not w/in 1,000 feet of a school or some UVA building?

quote: "You, your publication and your articles are a joke!"

And this is why you are here reading the articles and commenting on them?

WTF does Obama have to do with this. This is a state law. Any chance people have to trash him, they will. It's a shame.

How prosecuting these two offenses at the same time passes the Blockburger test against double jeopardy is beyond me. A prosecution for Section 18.2-255.2 requires exactly the same thing as a prosecution under 18.2-248, with the addition of the location of the sale.

What part of "illegal" do people not get?? These illegals are ruining our neighborhoods, our schools, our health care system... and to top it off, after breaking the law to come here and committing crimes while they are here, they get a public defender (which OUR taxes pay for)??? And by the way, we speak ENGLISH in this country, if you don't like it you should go back over the boarder and stay there!!! No one should have to PRESS 1 for English!!!

@UVa--YEAH! You said it! and those illegals are also picking all the fruit and vegetables for very low wages which leads to really low fruit and vegetable prices for me, which really ticks me off! since I hate illegals so much, I deliberately avoid buying the cheapest fruits and vegetables I can find since there's no way I want to encourage employers to continue to prefer illegals! same goes for meat! since i know that meatpacking plants rely heavily on illegals to get their work done cheaply, i NEVER patronize the grocery stores that offer the lowest prices on meat! that would just be rewarding those employers who hire illegals! and since I know those stinky illegals are contributing to Social Security and Medicare through their employers who do all the federal withholding for their illegal employees just as for their legal employees, I plan to refuse to take a dime of social security or medicare that was contributed by an illegal!

fie on those cheap fruits and vegetables! they're ruining America!

hoolarius: no one is trying to throw out documented migrant workers who have come here legally for years. But there is no benefit to the United States by letting criminals come into thei country illegally and consuming resources. Their contributions in taxes is squat compared to the the loss of taxes from the ones who are paid under the table. So do the math and you will see that we lose big time. The government will probably waste 30k prosecutiong these guys by the time it is done and they are deported. Do you think they paid taxes on their drug dealing income? Do you think that that was the first time they committed a crime? Do you think that the people who bought the drugs earned it and didn't steal car radios to get the money? Do you think that the amount of money the ones who do pay taxes even comes close to paying for educating their kids at 12k per kid per year? The advocates for amnesty twist all kinds of numbers to make it look like it is not a net loss but they never factor in all of the true costs that can only be estimated using common sense.

The problem is that without proper regulation the riff raff comes in with decent hardworking honest people.

The solution is to close the borders and to hold mexicos feet to the fire to improve its own country. Mexico has oil gas and tourism. The onlt thing that changes once you cross the Rio grande from texas is the government and the culture. They have everything they need to be a first rate country except honesty in the government.

if I do recall correctly, the city of Miami is what it is today thanks to cocaine and illegals taking the risks of managing said business matters. They can't spend drug money on say houses or cars so they eat out a lot, buy outragous outfits, and help make Wal-Mart the powerhouse it is today in more ways than one.

the true solution to this problem is huge reform to our drug laws as well as penal system for drug offenders. Think about it, drug trade WILL NOT EVER stop period. Hispanics aren't the only ones who buy and sell drugs in this country.

Selling is selling that crap and it doesnt matter where they were selling.they were selling, that had it with the intent to distribute the crap. JADE is doing their job, and very well at that... they are sworn to protect all of us, including our children 5-25... be thankful they are around to have done a GOOD SERVICE to the community. along with the other police agencies.. not only were these pieces of garbage dealers,they are ILLEGAL!AND THEY ARENT THE ONLY ONES SELLING THE CRAP EITHER.. LOOK AROUND YOU, AND GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND!.