During a brief five-minute recess following adjournment after Michelle Henry’s motions arguments were completed at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, 23 relatives and friends of Donald F. Poe filled the defense table side of Warren County Courthouse Circuit Courtroom B public seating area, spilling a couple of stragglers to the other side.
Poe’s long personal, family and business connections to the community were a focal point of defense counsel William Ashwell’s bond arguments on his client’s behalf. Judge Bruce D. Albertson didn’t have to look far to see evidence of those connections out in force.
Ashwell called his client “a 60-year resident of Warren County” – Poe is 60 years old – with family ties to the area dating back to the 1700’s in the Fauquier and Warren County area.
Poe’s attorney cited his work with his client for the last several months on the EDA civil litigation side of the legal equation. Poe is one of nine defendants named in the EDA civil suit filed March 26, as is his business partner Justin Appleton and their Earth Right Energy LLC solar panel installation company. The ERE trio’s involvement in the civil action, and Poe’s three criminal indictments, all appear related to ERE contracted work for or through the EDA and McDonald. Evidence provided on the civil side indicate some of that work accomplished, some cancelled, with reimbursements discussed and/or achieved according to ERE counsel.
Ashwell noted Poe’s presence for hearings and testimony throughout the civil litigation process, including the Special Grand Jury interview process that resulted in the three indictments against him.
“Other than the EDA involvement and the media attention this would be a fairly normal bond hearing,” Ashwell told the court.
Poe is charged on two felony counts of obtaining money by false pretense and one count of perjury.
Ashwell told Judge Albertson that Poe’s participation in preparing his own defense while incarcerated at the Prince William-Manassas Jail “was functionally impossible”. And prepare a defense, rather than flee the scene, is what his client is committed to, Ashwell said with emphasis.
“He is bound and determined more than any other client I’ve had to clear his name on these charges and on the civil case,” Poe’s attorney told the court.
Ashwell noted that Poe’s past criminal record and incarceration dated back to 1989-90 and that his record has been clean since his conviction and time served on those offenses. While not elaborated on during the hearing those legal issues dating back three decades related to non-opioid drugs and/or drug distribution.
Commonwealth’s counsel Bryan Layton said that while the perjury charge against Poe, believed to relate to his EDA Special Grand Jury testimony, gave him some concern that overall he could not dispute defense counsel’s assertions about Poe’s appearances and cooperation in the civil litigation process.
Consequently Judge Albertson granted Poe secured bond of $20,000.
According to the RSW Jail website Poe was no longer an inmate as of 5:40 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
Arrest made for Monday evening arson fire
Warren County, VA – On Monday, October 21, 2019, at approximately 3:00 pm, Warren County Fire and Rescue Services responded to 8561 Winchester Road for a reported residential structure fire.
Units arrived on the scene and found a single story, single family dwelling with significant fire conditions throughout the first floor and attic system of the home. A second alarm was requested, bringing two additional engines from in the county and two additional mutual-aid engines from Middletown and Stephens City. As a result of the incident, crews were assisted by Warren County Sheriff Deputies and the Virginia Department of Transportation with the closure of northbound 522/340, Winchester Road. The road remained closed for approximately 1 hour throughout the incident. It took firefighters approximately 50 minutes to bring the fire under control. There were no reported injuries.
The fire caused an estimated $200,000 in damages and contents loss and displaced the occupants from the home. The occupants have received assistance from the American Red Cross.
The cause of the fire was investigated by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office. Fire Investigators determined the fire was caused by an act of arson. Fire Investigators were joined by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division in a joint investigation. The investigation received assistance from the Town of Front Royal Police Department Criminal Investigations Division and the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office Canine Division.
As a result of the investigation, Ms. Shenisa Mohammed, (21 years of age) who was identified as an occupant of the home, has been charged in connection with the fire incident. Ms. Mohammed has been charged with a single felony count of § 18.2-77; Burning or destroying dwelling house and is being held without bond at the Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Warren Regional Jail.
Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is asked to contact Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or Sergeant Daniel Maxfield with the Sheriff’s Office at 540-635-7100 or 540-635-4128.
Vehicle theft and arson investigation
Warren County, VA – On Saturday, October 19, 2019, at approximately 6:30 am, Warren County Fire and Rescue units, along with Middletown Fire and Rescue units, were dispatched to the 800 block of Long Meadow Road for a reported motor vehicle crash with the vehicle on fire.
Units arrived on the scene and determined that the vehicle was completely burned and appeared abandoned along the side of the roadway.
The cause of the fire was investigated by the Warren County Fire Marshal’s Office. Fire Investigators determined the fire was caused by an act of arson. Fire Investigators were joined by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division in a joint investigation.
The vehicle, identified as a 2006 Chevrolet Van, white in color with ladder racks on the roof, was determined to be stolen from the area of Poe’s Campground on Riverside Drive in Front Royal, between the hours of 1:00 am and 5:30 am Saturday morning. A large amount of Milwaukee power tools and tools related to the electrical trade were found to be removed from the vehicle before the fire.
Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is asked to contact Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico at 540-636-3830 or Investigator Scott Baker with the Sheriff’s Office at 540-635-7100 or 540-635-4128.
Suspect found in woods and charged thanks to citizens’ help
On September 29, 2019, at approximately 2:26 pm, Warren County Sheriff’s Office Communication’s received information that wanted subject Richard Matthew Crouch was seen in the 2100 block of Strasburg Road. Deputies responded to the area, and upon arrival, citizens reported that the male had entered the woods. Deputies set up a perimeter and had a K-9 respond to the location. The K-9 track led deputies to Richard Matthew Crouch, and he was taken into custody without incident.
Crouch was transported to RSW Regional Jail and was held without bond on the following charges:
- Strangle Another Causing Wounding OR Injury (x8)
- Assault: On Family Member (x2)
- Malicious Bodily Injury
- Abduction: By force, ETC, To Deprive of Liberty
- SCH I/II: POS W/INTNT TO MAN/SELL/DIST
The Warren County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the citizens of our community for their help, as it was instrumental in the capture of this individual. Contact for this incident is Lieutenant Smoot at 540-635-4128 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suspects found and charged with Grand Larceny for theft of vehicle
On September 18, 2019, the Front Royal Police Department responded to the 800 block of John Marshall Highway for a reported larceny of a motor vehicle. The victim alleged that his 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer was stolen from the parking lot of 7-11 after leaving his vehicle running while he went into the store. Witnesses were interviewed on scene who advised they had observed two subjects, one male and one female, get into the vehicle and drive off.
A description of the vehicle and suspects were given to surrounding jurisdictions while the investigation continued. Detectives retrieved video footage from the 7-11 and confirmed witness statements.
On September 22, 2019, Front Royal Police Department received information that the stolen vehicle was possibly parked at the Hampton Inn in Front Royal. When Officers arrived, the vehicle was located parked in the back lot of the hotel and confirmed to be the stolen vehicle from earlier in the week. The vehicle was towed to the Front Royal Police Department to be processed and stored. The suspects were positively identified as Derrick Aldine Malone and Dakota Leigh Free, and both were detained without incident and charged with Grand Larceny for theft of the vehicle. Malone and Free are currently being held at the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail without bond.
Anyone who has further information about this incident is asked to contact Detective D. Fogle at the Front Royal Police Department, Criminal Investigations Division at (540) 636-2208 or email@example.com.
Harrisonburg woman pleads guilty to fatal overdose distribution
HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA – Iza Mar Rosario-Cruzado, 31, of Harrisonburg, Va., pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to one count of distributing and possessing with the intent to distribute a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. Rosario-Cruzado further admitted her distribution of this drug mixture resulted in an overdose death. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen made the announcement following the defendant’s guilty plea.
“Heroin laced with fentanyl is driving the opioid epidemic that has ravaged our district for the last several years,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today. “We will continue to work closely with our state and local partners to investigate and prosecute cases involving overdose deaths and hold dealers accountable under federal law.”
“This sentence is a great example of our efforts to keep our local communities safe from the spread of drugs. Heroin and fentanyl are extremely deadly substances and those who spread this poison across our cities, acting with blatant disregard for the lives of the people who live here, will not be tolerated,” said Special Against in Charge Jesse R. Fong of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington Field Division. “This case is a testament to the hard work DEA and our law enforcement partners do every day to keep these dangerous drugs out of the hands of our loved ones.”
According to court documents entered during yesterday’s hearing, on December 13, 2017, victim M.J.M. was found deceased following a heroin and fentanyl overdose. Investigators determined that the day prior, December 12, 2017, Rosario-Cruzado distributed a mixture of heroin and fentanyl to Richard Mansfield. Mansfield subsequently redistributed the same drugs to M.J.M., who ingested them, resulting in his overdose death.
On September 12, 2018, Mansfield pleaded guilty to one count of distributing a mixture of heroin and fentanyl.
At sentencing, scheduled for December 17, 2019, Rosario-Cruzado faces between 12-16 years in years in federal prison, as agreed to as part of her plea agreement.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Virginia State Police, and Harrisonburg Police Department, with the assistance of Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha L. Garst. Assistant United States Attorney Jeb Terrien is prosecuting the case for the United States.
Maryland man facing multiple charges after I-66 pursuit
A Mechanicsville, Maryland man is behind bars for DUI and multiple other charges in three counties after he fled from law enforcement Friday (August 30, 2019).
Virginia State Police have charged Jeremy M. Carr, 32, in Warren, Fauquier, and Prince William counties with three counts reckless driving, three felony counts of eluding police, three counts driving on a suspended license, three counts of unauthorized use of an automobile, three counts of DUI, and three counts wearing a mask to conceal identity.
Also in Warren County, state police charged Carr with one felony count of hit-and-run, one count of failing to obey a traffic light, and one count of passing on a double-solid center line. In Prince William County, Carr was also charged with one count of passing on a double-solid center line.
State police initiated the traffic stop at approximately 7:57 a.m. as a 2010 Ford F-250 was traveling west on Interstate 66 at the 37 mile marker in Prince William County. The violation was for speeding – as the F-250 was driving 93 mph in a posted 70 mph zone.
The Ford continued west on I-66 and entered Fauquier County, reaching speeds of up to 100 mph. The Ford F-250 finally pulled over and stopped on Route 340 in Warren County. The driver, Carr, was taken into custody without further incident.
During the course of the pursuit in Warren County, the Ford did strike another vehicle. No one in that vehicle was injured.
No state police troopers were injured in the course of the pursuit.
Carr is being held at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail.