Home ‘Aggravating factors’ considered in sentencing of Big Stone Gap man for meth, fleeing police
Public Safety, Virginia

‘Aggravating factors’ considered in sentencing of Big Stone Gap man for meth, fleeing police

meth ring
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A Big Stone Gap man, who fled from police during a traffic stop before ultimately being found with more than 50 grams of methamphetamine in his car, was sentenced last week to 107 months in federal prison.

Joshua Derrick Ellis Vanover, 35, pled guilty to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced on March 15, 2024.

According to court documents, on February 26, 2023, officers with the Big Stone Gap Police Department attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Vanover, but he failed to stop and a high-speed pursuit ensued. When his vehicle finally came to a stop, Vanover was arrested and a search of his person revealed a large bag of methamphetamine hidden inside his boxer shorts. A subsequent search of his vehicle revealed two large bags of methamphetamine, digital scales, several empty baggies and syringes. Vanover admitted he fled from police because he knew he was wanted, had drugs on him and did not want to go back to jail. Vanover’s serious and significant criminal history, including prior drug-related convictions, were aggravating factors considered at his sentencing hearing.

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, and Craig B. Kailimai, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, made the announcement.

The ATF, the Big Stone Gap Police Department, the Wise County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration all assisted throughout the course of the investigation.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.