Roanoke man gets 11 years in prison after conviction on heroin distribution charges

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A Roanoke man responsible for distributing heroin throughout the Roanoke area in 2019 was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison following his conviction earlier this year on federal drug distribution charges.

James Robert Banks, 32, pleaded guilty in June to one count of possession with the intent to distribute heroin.

“Heroin abuse continues to plague our communities in a cycle of painful abuse, and those that distribute it must face justice,” Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar said. “Thanks to the work of the DEA and the members agencies of the Roanoke-area HIDTA on this investigation, there is less heroin on the streets of Roanoke today.”

Criminal charges against Banks arose from his sale of heroin on specific dates in August and November 2019. According to court documents, law enforcement agents arranged for the controlled purchase of approximately $6,000 worth of heroin from Banks on two occasions. In both instances, Banks sold the heroin from a commercial auto repair facility on Centre Avenue in Roanoke, owned by his father.

In connection with his guilty plea to distribution charges, Banks has acknowledged distributing between one and three kilograms of heroin in the Roanoke area in 2019.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and member agencies of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA), including the City of Roanoke Police Department, Virginia State Police, Roanoke County Police Department, and Salem Police Department.

Additional support was provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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