U.S. Western District Attorney Announces Sentences in Three Cases, Including One Prosecuted by Attorney from Miyares’ Office

BY Eric Burk | Tennessee Star

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Christopher Kavanaugh announced sentences in three separate drug dealing cases on Friday, including a case prosecuted by an attorney cross-designated between the Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Special Assistant United States Attorney M. Suzanne Kerney-Quillen prosecuted the case against Pedro Loza, who was sentenced to 72 months after he was convicted on charges related to the distribution of methamphetamine as part of an organization that trafficked drugs from Texas and Indiana into Southwest Virginia, according to a joint press release from Miyares and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Kerney-Quillen, a senior assistant attorney general in Miyares’ office, handled the prosecution on behalf of the United States in her role as Special Assistant United States Attorney (SAUSA).

Cross designation allows SAUSAs to continue being paid by the Office of the Attorney General or the local prosecutor’s office, not the U.S. Attorney’s office, but cross-designated SAUSAs answer to the U.S. Attorney temporarily. The program allows SAUSAs to gain experience in federal judicial contexts and helps authorities work in partnership with Federal authorities, according to an abstract at the U.S. Department of Justice. Miyares recently announced that his office would cross-designate more SAUSAs to focus on felony prosecutions as part of his office’s Operation Ceasefire.

The two other cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Whit Pierce, Lena Busscher, and Sean Welsh.

press release said Lynchburg man Quentin Horsley managed a network of 17 drug dealers and one co-conspirator texted him, “when you wait, you make the whole city wait.”

Horsley was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.

Crystal Younce and Donald Smith were sentenced after authorities seized 300 grams of pure methamphetamine and $8,000 in cash; Younce got 130 months and Smith got 120 months.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to eburk@vastarnews.com.
Photo “Suzanne Kerney-Quillen” by Suzanne Kerney-Quillen. Photo “Christopher Kavanaugh” by United States Department of Justice. Background Photo “Courtroom” by Clyde Robinson. CC BY 2.0.

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