U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Christopher Kavanaugh announced sentences in three separate drug dealing cases on Friday, including a case prosecuted by an attorney cross-designated between the Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Special Assistant United States Attorney M. Suzanne Kerney-Quillen prosecuted the case against Pedro Loza, who was sentenced to 72 months after he was convicted on charges related to the distribution of methamphetamine as part of an organization that trafficked drugs from Texas and Indiana into Southwest Virginia, according to a joint press release from Miyares and the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Governor Glenn Youngkin called for increased funding to support law enforcement and partnerships with localities as part of the administration’s Monday announcement of Operation Bold Blue Line. The proposals were the result of his violent crime task force, which he said found Virginia lacks law enforcement officers, prosecutors, programs for at-risk youth, and support for witnesses and victims.
“It’s often said that our law enforcement heroes represent a thin blue line,” he said in a speech outside a City of Norfolk Library alongside Attorney General Jason Miyares and Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears.
“Friends, with nearly 40 percent law enforcement vacancy rates in some cities, with too few prosecutors actually prosecuting, with diminished community engagement and witnesses and victims less willing to come forward, that thin blue line is getting far too thin.”
Governor Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General Jason Miyares announced a violent crime task force composed of officials from the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Criminal Justice Services, and the Virginia State Police. Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Bob Mosier will lead the task force alongside Chief Deputy Attorney General Chuck Slemp.
“There is a clear recognition of a violent crime crisis in Virginia and my administration is committed to joining with community leaders, law enforcement, and Virginians around solutions with the Violent Crime task force,” Youngkin said in the Monday announcement.
The House of Delegates passed a bill to fund a group violence intervention program based on the “Operation Ceasefire” projects implemented in Boston. That’s been a goal of now-Speaker Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) since 2019, and Governor Glenn Youngkin promised it during his campaign. Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) introduced HB 833; the version that passed out of the House on Monday would create a grant fund managed by the attorney general to fund violent crime reduction strategies, training and equipment for law enforcement, grants to law enforcement and other organizations engaged in group violence intervention.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin unveiled a long list of policy priorities prominently featuring tax breaks alongside spending on law enforcement and schools in his “Day One Game Plan.” His Monday announcement in Falls Church also included a declaration that he would ban Critical Race Theory (CRT) from being taught in schools or used in teacher training, and he said he wouldn’t implement COVID-19 shutdowns.
“I will not allow COVID lock downs to ever occur in Virginia again,” Youngkin said to loud cheers and applause from the crowd.