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Seasonal News

Sellers plead guilty in drug ring
October 2010

Salespeople in a Charlottesville-area drug ring, some of whom deposited the proceeds into a Wachovia Bank account, pleaded guilty to charges Friday in Charlottesville’s federal court.

Authorities said that Keith Aubrey Marks, Tangelia Lashiel Bulluck, Melissa Ann Putnam, Sherri Lynette White and David Anthony Payne were involved in the drug conspiracy between June 2009 and July 2010. Ronald Huber, assistant U.S. attorney, said in court that it is estimated the conspiracy moved 1.5 kilos of crack, more than 100 grams of heroin and some powder cocaine.

Rodney Wayne Barnes and five others were indicted Sept. 22 by a federal grand jury in connection with the drug ring. The indictment said Barnes, who pleaded not guilty to all charges during a Sept. 24 hearing, “developed relations with other drug traffickers” while he was selling drugs.


Detectives from the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement task force and their informants began buying drugs from some of the salespeople in the spring, Huber said in court. After Putnam was arrested on an outstanding warrant from a state court, the prosecutor said in court, she told authorities that she had been selling drugs and sending money orders to Barnes in New York.


The five salespeople, all of whom are incarcerated except for Bulluck, are scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 10. Barnes is scheduled to have a three-day trial in November.