When police Pfc. K.D. Kiernan pulled over a vehicle in Chantilly last spring at Route 28 and Willard Road, she did so because it had tinted windows, which are illegal. However, the astute officer also noticed marijuana residue inside and became suspicious.
Her curiosity and the resulting police investigation led to the arrests of two men and the confiscation of a huge cache of weapons, drugs and money. Since then, one of the men, Jedidiah Michael Cummings of 8879 Teakwood Court in Manassas, has been sentenced to five years in prison.
The other, Jason A. Whittington, 27, of 14518 Golden Oak Road in The Meadows community of Centreville, pleaded guilty to drugs and weapons charges last week in federal court and will be sentenced in October.
BOTH MEN were serious drug dealers with no-nonsense weapons. When the dust cleared, police seized cocaine, ecstasy pills, some 10 pounds of marijuana, more than $10,000 in cash, brass knuckles, body armor and 14 guns.
The weapons arsenal included an SKS assault rifle, a MAC-11 machine gun with a silencer, an AR-15 assault rifle, four handguns, various shotguns and rifles, plus ammunition — 30 round magazines.
The traffic stop occurred June 6, 2006, around 1:30 p.m. And after Kiernan, with Fairfax County police, saw the drug residue, she had a police K-9 unit come and check the vehicle's exterior.
The dog indicated the presence of drugs in the car and, according to an undercover detective in the police department's Narcotics Section, "Suspected marijuana residue was located inside a Cingular Motorola cell phone box [containing] $8,716. The residue was field-tested and yielded a positive reaction for marijuana."
Police arrested both Whittington and Cummings, and the detective revealed details of their case in a June 6, 2006 affidavit for a warrant to seek further evidence in Whittington's home. He wrote that a search incident to the Centreville man's arrest yielded a hotel-room, access-key card among his belongings.
During the traffic stop, Kiernan spoke with the vehicle's driver who told the officer she'd picked up the two men at the Extended Stay Deluxe Hotel, 4506 Brookfield Corporate Drive, in Chantilly. Then, wrote the detective, "A search warrant was executed [there] and large amounts of money, several firearms and large quantities of marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine were seized, along with records and documents linking Whittington to the room."
Agent V. Sterling of the Virginia State Police was also involved in this case. And, in a June 5, 2006 affidavit for a warrant to search Whittington's room at the hotel, the detective wrote that, after being read his Miranda rights, Cummings told Sterling that he and Whittington had spent the night of June 4 there. And hotel records revealed Whittington had rented the room from June 2 through June 8, 2006.
THE DETECTIVE also wrote that Sterling obtained further information about Whittington from another person. According to the detective, on June 2, this person saw Whittington remove a large, blue, storage tub from his home and bring it to the hotel.
"That storage tub was located inside the hotel room with large quantities of marijuana and guns inside," he wrote. He also noted that, in his experience, "people who distribute marijuana utilize hotel rooms to evade detection from law enforcement."
In addition, the detective stated that a check of the Virginia Criminal Information Network revealed that Whittington was previously convicted of felony distribution of marijuana in Prince William County.
Among items seized June 5, 2006 from the hotel room were: A gym bag full of marijuana, pills and marijuana from the blue bin in the closet, cash from the nightstand, scales, a knife with marijuana residue, five weapons — guns and rifles, both loaded and unloaded, a magazine and boxes of ammunition, a cell phone and police body armor.
At Whittington's townhouse, the detective hoped to find records and documents of narcotics customers and a source of supply, drugs and drug paraphernalia and financial records of monetary amounts paid and owed for the drugs.
In the right, front bedroom, police seized a shotgun from under the bed, brass knuckles and records and documents. Marijuana was found in a kitchen cabinet, under the couch and in the closet of a rear bedroom. Also confiscated from that bedroom were packaging material, cash and a pistol magazine. Pills were seized from a bathroom medicine cabinet.
Police also executed a search warrant at United Stor-All, 10043 Iron Gate Way in Manassas and seized the SKS assault rifle, machine gun with silencer and other firearms. They charged both Whittington and Cummings with possession of marijuana, possession of more than five pounds of marijuana and possessing a weapon while in possession of controlled substances.
WHITTINGTON was also charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and Cummings with possession with intent to distribute narcotics. Both were held without bond in the Adult Detention Center and were given court dates.
But then Fairfax County dropped its charges against both men so they could be prosecuted federally, and that's what happened. Federal prosecution generally leads to stiffer sentences.
Cummings was eventually convicted of possession of a firearm while in possession of a controlled substance. And on Dec. 12, 2006 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Judge Bruce Lee sentenced him to five years in prison and three years supervised probation upon his release.
Last Thursday, Aug. 9, in the same court, Whittington pleaded guilty to possession of arms in the furtherance of drug trafficking, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine. He's scheduled for sentencing Oct. 26 by Judge Leonie Brinkema.