A Fayetteville business owner was sentenced Feb. 1 in Raleigh County Circuit Court to one to five years for possession with intent to deliver marijuana.
Benjamin Villenave, co-owner of Big Dam Pizza, pleaded guilty to the crime several months ago.
Raleigh County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Julianne Wisman said when a man was pulled over in Nebraska, officers found $57,000 in cash. The man told police he had just sold a quantity of marijuana to a man named Benji in West Virginia.
Working a tip from Homeland Security, the Beckley Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force executed a search warrant on Villenave’s Beckley residence. Officers confiscated 19 pounds of marijuana and $6,000 in cash.
Police said the marijuana had a street value of $80,000.
Villenave’s defense attorney James Cagle asked the court to grant his client probation, citing a spotless criminal record and a wealth of community support. Several individuals spoke on behalf of Villanave’s character as a businessman and father.
Wisman, however, argued for the penitentiary sentence. She said this wasn’t simply ounces