Amherst man convicted of firearm possession

AMHERST — An Amherst man who was arrested in December as part of an investigation into an incident in which seven Central Elementary School students ingested gummies from a bag that tested positive for fentanyl has pleaded guilty Monday to a gun-related charge.

Clifford Dugan Jr., 50, was found guilty Monday in Amherst Circuit Court of possessing or transporting a firearm after being convicted of a felony. A second charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor, against Dugan was dropped.

Amherst County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Adam Stanley said the case against Dugan Monday is separate from the unrest at the school. Stanley did not mention that incident in his summary of his testimony in Amherst Circuit Court and said that after the hearing, the Central Elementary case was still under investigation.

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Five of the seven students who ingested fentanyl during the Dec. 12 incident received medical treatment and recovered that week, Amherst County Public Schools officials said. School Resource Officer Brandon Payne observed residue in a bag containing gummies that tested positive for fentanyl, a powerful opioid, the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office said.

Dugan has been in custody since his arrest and has twice been denied bail.

Chuck Felmlee, Dugan’s attorney, said at a Jan. 23 bond hearing that Dugan is a construction worker and lives in a home on Pendleton Drive in Amherst with his mother, partner and three children.

The fentanyl incident received national media coverage. ACPS Superintendent William Wells said the division is fortunate no students were seriously injured.

Stanley said Monday that a search warrant executed at the Pendleton Drive residence revealed the presence of two guns on the property, which Dugan said were given to him by neighbors. Dugan was prohibited from possessing firearms as a result of a previous drug conviction, according to Stanley.

Felmlee said Monday that Dugan would have testified if the case had gone to trial the defendant believed his son took both guns. Dugan was “extremely polite” and respectful to officers during the search, Felmlee said.

Describing Dugan as a model inmate for nearly six months, Felmlee asked Judge Jeff Bennett to consider releasing him on bond pending sentencing. Felmlee said the gun charge would carry no mandatory prison time and Dugan is considering a maximum limit of seven months to one year and a minimum limit of zero, based on sentencing guidelines. the punishment.

Stanley said the Commonwealth continues to oppose the bond. Bennett said he would not revisit the bond status.

Felmlee said after the hearing that Dugan was not responsible for or connected to the contaminated bag that affected the school.

“He had nothing to do with making lunches that morning or bagging gummy bears,” Felmlee said.

Sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 12 in Amherst Circuit Court. Nicole Sanders, who was also charged following a search warrant with possession of a Schedule I or II drug and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, is scheduled to go to trial June 18 at 2:30 p.m., records show judicial.

Justin Falconer,

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