Drug trafficker caught with 212 grams of fentanyl, 5 guns, $43K in cash gets 15-year federal term – Richmond.com

Police seized various drugs with a combined weight of 1,340 kilograms, five guns and $43,000 in cash from a Prince George County home that authorities said Dominiqic Mason, 23, used as a “stash house.”
Police seized drugs, cash and firearms from a home maintained by Dominiqic Mason.
A Hopewell man who dealt crack cocaine to his addicted mother and became what federal authorities described as a large-scale trafficker of heroin and methamphetamine in the Richmond region at 22 years old was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Richmond to more than 15 years in prison.
When police from Chesterfield and Prince George counties raided a home 11 months ago that Dominiqic Mason, now 23, used for distributing narcotics, they found 212 grams of fentanyl — enough to potentially kill thousands of people through drug overdoses. Just three milligrams is enough to kill an average-sized man. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is often mixed with other drugs, such as heroin, to boost the potency of the drug.
Police also confiscated 28.35 grams of methamphetamine, 21.6 grams of cocaine base, 26.15 grams of cocaine hydrochloride and $43,000 in cash, along with an assortment of high-powered firearms.
“Considering the amount of money and drugs recovered, the defendant ran a significant heroin trafficking operation,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Simon in a sentencing memorandum filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond, adding, “Inexplicably, the defendant dealt narcotics to his own mother.”
Despite his young age, authorities said Mason qualifies as a career offender based on two prior drug trafficking convictions that he incurred less than seven months apart.
“A review of the defendant’s criminal history reveals an individual deeply committed to a life of criminality that has significantly endangered the lives of others,” Simon wrote. “And these egregious violations of the law come despite being given countless opportunities to reenter society and comport with the law.”
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Payne sentenced Mason to 188 months in federal prison on his earlier guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl, along with methamphetamine, cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride.
The judge denied a defense motion for a downward variance from what’s known as the “career offender” designation under federal sentencing guidelines, which in Mason’s case called for a punishment of between 188 and 235 months of incarceration. If he had not been deemed a career offender, Mason would have faced a guideline range of 151 to 188 months. His attorney urged a sentence of 130 months.
In accordance with Mason’s plea agreement, two additional counts of distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon were dismissed on Thursday.
According to a statement of facts submitted by federal prosecutors, Mason came to the attention of Prince George and Chesterfield police in February 2021 after authorities received tips from confidential sources that they had been in touch with Mason to discuss the prices and quantities of narcotics he had for sale.
Police then arranged for a confidential police source to make controlled buys of 6.93 grams of methamphetamine and 14.9 grams of fentanyl from Mason on Feb. 23 and March 2, 2021, respectively. The exchanges were recorded by the confidential source, who was equipped with audio and visual monitoring devices.
Following the drug purchases, police executed a search warrant at 3705 Madison St. in Prince George, a drug “stash house” that Mason maintained for the purpose of manufacturing and distributing drugs. While searching an upstairs bedroom belonging to Mason, investigators recovered a large assortment of narcotics from a safe.
Also recovered from the safe was a receipt tying Mason to the safe, his girlfriend’s passport and five firearms, including a Smith & Wesson M&P 15, similar to an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.
Assistant public defender Amy Austin, Mason’s attorney, had asked the court to consider a downward departure from federal sentencing guidelines, arguing his criminal conduct must be viewed in conjunction with his traumatic childhood and his reunion at age 18 with his biological mother and sister.
The drug use of Mason’s mother led to her four children being removed from her custody when Mason was only 5, due to neglect. The children at times had to feed and take care of themselves after being left alone for days at a time, Austin said in a sentencing memorandum.
Mason was taken in by an aunt, worked part-time jobs as he got older and did not engage in criminal activity until he began associating with his mother and sister again at 18, “and his life went off the rails,” Austin wrote.
After Mason was prescribed Percocet following a dental procedure, and his prescription for the drug lapsed, he began using street drugs to achieve the same sense of relief, and eventually turned to fentanyl, Austin said.
From age 18 up until the time of his most recent arrest in March 2021, he used fentanyl daily and became addicted. He then began dealing drugs to support his habit. He obtained his first felony drug conviction at 18, his second at 19 and committed the crimes for which he was charged federally at 22.
“Mr. Mason’s life is complicated, beginning at birth,” Austin wrote. “One can take the view that he callously and independently decided to begin dealing drugs at 18, sometimes even providing them to his mother.
“But such a myopic view of those circumstances fails to take into account the historical context: the neglect he suffered as a young child, the breaking apart of his family, the hurt he experienced when what he wanted — to live with his mom and siblings — never happened. Not surprisingly, Mr. Mason was drawn back to his immediate family and this is where it went terribly wrong.”
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Police seized various drugs with a combined weight of 1,340 kilograms, five guns and $43,000 in cash from a Prince George County home that authorities said Dominiqic Mason, 23, used as a “stash house.”
Police seized drugs, cash and firearms from a home maintained by Dominiqic Mason.
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