CHRISTIANSBURG — Supplying a Montgomery County methamphetamine ring will cost a Georgia man five years behind bars – plus 40 years of probation after his release and the possibility of decades more in prison if he gets in trouble again, a judge said Wednesday.
Marcus Sentell Robinson, 37, of Macon, was among 30 people charged in the Icy Roads case, which tracked a Georgia-to-Montgomery County meth distribution chain. Icy Roads is Montgomery County’s second large meth roundup in recent years, following the Operation Crankdown case that also involved distribution of meth from Georgia. Prosecutors have said they do not think the two cases are connected.
Appearing in the county’s Circuit Court by a video connection from the Western Virginia Regional Jail, Robinson entered a no contest plea to a charge of conspiring to distribute meth and accepted a 40-year sentence, to be suspended after he serves the five years. A plea agreement dropped a charge of conspiring to transport drugs into Virginia.
Judge Mike Fleenor also imposed a $250 fine, and 20 years of supervised probation and 20 years more of unsupervised probation after Robinson is released. Fleenor noted that the five years Robinson is to serve is the minimum allowed for the conviction.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Erin Little summarized the prosecution’s case, saying it revolved around Elliston resident Thomas G. Belcher Jr.’s trips to Georgia to buy meth from Robinson. According to Little, Belcher, 46, would buy the meth at $300 per ounce, then sell it for twice as much back in Montgomery County and in Radford. She said that Belcher brought somewhere between 16 and 48 ounces of meth into Montgomery County in 2019 and 2020.
Belcher faces 33 charges tied to distributing and transporting drugs, conspiracy, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He is scheduled for a two-day jury trial starting Feb. 22.
Little said that Robinson told investigators that he sold multiple ounces of meth to Belcher about 10 times and that as part of the transaction, Robinson would get several 3.5-gram “eight balls” of meth for himself.
At the hearing, Robinson agreed that the prosecution could prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Jailed since his arrest on July 29, Robinson was granted a bond in August but was unable to raise the $25,000 required for his release, defense attorney Mark Anderson of Christiansburg said.
Outside Wednesday’s hearing, Anderson said that Robinson had faced an additional mandatory sentence of three years for the charge that was dropped.
Robinson was the fourth Icy Roads defendant to be convicted, following William Edward David Rose, 23, of Christiansburg, who pleaded guilty to drug charges last month and was ordered to serve one month and 15 days; Matthew Todd Coleman, 34, of Christiansburg, who pleaded guilty to drug charges in September and was sentenced to serve four years; and Johnathon Scott Byers, 36, of Montgomery County, who pleaded guilty to drug charges in August and was fined $1,000 and sent to prison for five years.
Rose, Coleman and Byers also had charges in addition to their Icy Roads involvement that were resolved during their recent court appearances, but, related to the meth sting, prosecutors said Byers sold meth he got from Belcher from his home, Coleman also had a role in distribution, and Rose received meth from another Icy Roads defendant in exchange for use of the wi-fi hotspot on his phone.