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Va. man sentenced to prison for peddling painkillers to teens

Friday - 1/31/2014, 5:04pm  ET

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A Loudoun County man is heading to prison for 12 years for preying on teens and selling them a dangerously addictive drug in Leesburg over a period of several years.

As part of a deal with prosecutors, George Washington Crane, 48, of Leesburg, pleaded guilty in September to a lesser charge of conspiracy to distribute the painkiller oxycodone, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Originally, Crane faced 20 years to life for a charge linked to the overdose death of a 20-year-old man.

Before sentencing Crane, Federal District Judge Liam O'Grady said that Crane, who has three prior felony drug convictions, has had chance after chance to turn his life around.

"You present a tremendous danger to our community," O'Grady said. "You chose vulnerable young people." The judge called oxycodone the worst drug out there.

Prosecutors say Crane sold the drug out of his car daily and primarily distributed the product to high school students and recent graduates.

Crane was involved in supplying oxycodone to William Huff, who overdosed in his Leesburg home shortly after returning from drug-rehab in August 2010.

Huff's mother did not attend the sentencing hearing. U.S. Assistant Attorney Adam Schwartz said it was too painful for her to be there.

The man who supplied the drug to Huff, John George, was sentenced to four years in prison for serving as the middleman between Crane and Huff.

Schwartz says during a period of three or four years Crane would travel weekly to D.C. and Baltimore to pick up the drug to sell to in Leesburg.

Schwartz says the drug led to heroin addictions for some of those Crane sold to and that others are still trying to overcome their addictions.

During the hearing, Crane gave his condolences to the Huff family and apologized to the court for his actions. He also said that he and Huff were friends.

"It is gratifying to see Crane held accountable for both drug distribution and the tragic and senseless death of William Huff. I thank our partners at the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for working with the Loudoun County Sheriff's office to bring this case to a successful conclusion," said Sheriff Mike Chapman.

Crane has been in jail his arrest in May last year.

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