U.S. District Court Judge Oren R. Lewis yesterday sentenced Virgil H. Jewell, 49, to 14 years jail for violating narcotics laws and escaping from a U.S. penitentiary at McNeil Island in the state of Washington.
Judge Lewis said he did not believe the defendant was entitled to any leniency from the court and imposed the maximum possible penalty.
Jewell, in an agreement with prosecutors, pleaded guilty last month to charges of inducing two women to travel from Colombia to Virginia with the intent of violating narcotics laws. He also pleaded guilty to charges that he had used the telephone to facilitate a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and that he had escaped from a penitentiary in Washington state.
In return, prosecutors dropped charges originally filed against Jewell in connection with the manufacture of counterfeit bills with an estimated value of $410,400.
Jewell was arrested last June 2 by federal agents and Fairfax County police in a raid on a house in Burke in southwestern Fairfax County. Officials said they found $200,000 in cocaine and a printing press as well as small amounts of heroin and marijuana.
Also arrested in that raid with Jewell and two other persons was Jewell's wife, Jen Martinez, 22, but charges against her were dropped after Jewell pleaded guilty to the escape charge last Aug. 29.
Martinez was arrested later by the FBI and is charged with bribing a corrections officer to obtain Jewell's release from the Arlington County jail. Yesterday she appeared at a preliminary hearing during which U.S. Magistrate Alex Akerman found probable cause for the charges against her and reduced bond from $50,000 to $35,000.
Martinez' attorney said that his client could not meet the bond and she returned to the Alexandria City jail after the hearing. The case now goes to a grand jury.
Shortly before handing down its sentence, Judge Lewis referred to the drug charges against Jewell and told him: "You were engaged in one of the most nefarious of all crimes while you were an escapee from McNeil Island.
Jewell responded, "The only thing I can say is I am deeply sorry it ever happened. At this point my only interest is to finish my sentence and to get back out on the street and earn a living for my family that I have outside."