Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
A Tazewell County business owner will spend 11 years in prison on drug distribution and firearm charges.
Sep Zu Ha, also known as Joseph Ha, 30, of 121 Harman Street, Tazewell, was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Jack S. Hurley to 96 years and 72 months in prison on numerous counts of narcotics trafficking and firearms charges. Hurley then agreed to suspend all but 11 years, which Ha will serve as an active sentence, Commonwealth Attorney Dennis Lee announced Tuesday. Ha was the owner of Star Nails in North Tazewell.
Lee said evidence presented at the sentencing hearing revealed that Ha traveled to several states to obtain various drugs, including cocaine, hydroponically grown marijuana (which is the growing of marijuana in a nutrient rich liquid rather than in soil), and pain and nerve medications which were then sold in the Tazewell area, at or near his place of business as well as other locations.
During the course of the investigation, Lee said Ha also sold an Uzi semi-automatic assault pistol to an undercover informant. Ha had previously been convicted of a felony and had served an active sentence.
“We are very pleased at the sentence the defendant received and hope that it serves as a warning to other drug dealers in Tazewell County to get out of the business,” Tazewell County Sheriff Brian Hieatt said in a press release issued by Lee Tuesday.
Both Hieatt and Lee also praised the work of all agencies involved in the investigation and prosecution of Ha.
Ha had previously entered guilty pleas to two counts of distribution of cocaine, a schedule I or II controlled substance; one count of distribution of Alprazolam, a schedule IV controlled substance; one count of felony distribution of marijuana; six counts of misdemeanor distribution of marijuana; two counts of distribution of a schedule III controlled substance; one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and five counts of distribution of a scheduled controlled substance on public or school property.
Lee said Ha also agreed to forfeit all the items that were seized from his home and business the day he was arrested.
The case was investigated by the Tazewell County Narcotics Task Force, Virginia State Police, Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, Tazewell Police Department, Richlands Police Department, Bluefield Police Department and Cedar Bluff Police Department.
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