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Martinsburg man convicted of drug trafficking

October 25, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A 21-year-old Martinsburg man faces up to 20 years in prison after being convicted Thursday in U.S. District Court on federal drug trafficking charges.

A jury found Jason J. Smith, of 123 W. John St., guilty on one count of criminal conspiracy to distribute cocaine, according to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. Prosecutors said the offenses took place between January 1990 and April of this year.

In addition to the prison sentence, Smith could be fined a maximum of $1 million. A pre-sentence investigation will be conducted before he is sentenced, according to a court official.

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The jury deliberated about an hour and a half before reaching the verdict, according to Smith's father, Hubert Smith of Bunker Hill. "There will be an appeal and not only that, I'll go to the Justice Department," the former president of the Berkeley County NAACP said.

Hubert Smith claimed the prosecution of his son was "another typical case of racism in the Panhandle." He said prosecutors had relied largely on the testimony of convicted felons in the two-day trial.

He claimed authorities had not seized any drugs or made any controlled buys in connection with the investigation. He also noted there were no blacks on the jury.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas O. Mucklow. The U.S. Attorney's Office said the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs Service and Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crime Task Force had participated in the investigation.

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