Seven months after the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office announced its largest marijuana seizure in memory, the suspect in the case today was sentenced to serve two years in prison.
Bryant W. Denison, a 55-year-old California man, charged with transporting nearly $900,000 worth of marijuana and marijuana oil after a Dec. 21, 2015, arrest in Sterling.
In April, Denison entered an Alford plea, acknowledging that there was enough evidence to warrant a conviction on the felony distribution of marijuana charge, but not admitting guilt.
Denison claimed that he was hired to transport the crates but was unaware of their content. After answering an ad, Denison’s employer flew him to Virginia were he rented a truck and picked up the cargo at Dulles Airport, with instructions to deliver them to a storage unit in Maryland. He was pulled over just outside the airport.
A total of 155 bricks of marijuana, each weighing about 1.2 pounds, were inside the rental truck. Also inside was 15 pounds of marijuana wax, commonly referred to as “shatter.”
The charge carries a sentence of five to 30 years in prison.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Sean Morgan said Denison was acting as an important cog in the region’s drug trade, while defense attorney Alex Levay described him as an unwitting participant.
Although Denison’s record showed two prior drug-related convictions in 1992 and 2004, testimony at Friday’s sentencing hearing highlighted his work as a trustee at Loudoun’s jail, letters of support—and even a job offer—from friends and family in California, and profile reports that determined him to be a relatively low risk.
Circuit Court Judge Stephen E. Sincavage sentenced Denison to the minimum of 5 years in prison, but suspended three years. Following his release, he will be subject to two years of supervised probation.