Evidence showed that between March 1, 2017 and March 5, 2017, Christopher Stevens made various phone calls from Red Onion State Prison to another individual. During the phone calls, Stevens made an agreement by phone with the individual to purchase marijuana and explained how to prepare it for entry into Red Onion State Prison.
On March 4, 2017, the Norton City Fire Department and Norton City Police Department were dispatched to a motel in the City of Norton in reference to an activated fire alarm. Upon a check of the building, police detected the odor of marijuana coming from a room within the motel. A search of the room revealed that marijuana was being packaged in small bags for delivery into Red Onion State Prison. The drugs were seized and were not delivered into the prison. Stevens later confessed to the crime.
Christopher Stevens is serving an active seven year sentence from 2011 from the City of Portsmouth Circuit Court for robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, malicious wounding, and attempted robbery of a residence. The sentence imposed today will run consecutive to the other charges.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp and assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Berlin Skeen.
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "I am thankful for the ongoing efforts of the Virginia Department of Corrections to eradicate contraband from our prisons. We hope that this case sends a clear message that we will not tolerate attempts to bring drugs of any kind into our prisons." Slemp also thanked the efforts of the Virginia Department of Corrections, Norton City Fire Department, and the Norton City Police Department in their investigation of the case.
Wise County is home to three Virginia Department of Corrections Facilities: Red Onion State Prison in Pound, Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone Gap, and Wise Correctional Unit in Coeburn.