HARRISONBURG — An Edinburg man nabbed during a 2018 traffic stop in Luray pleaded guilty to federal drug charges Tuesday.
Bryan Lee Estep, 45, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg to felony conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and felony possession with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
Each charge carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, but Estep faces up to life in prison.
As of Thursday, a sentencing date hadn’t been scheduled.
Federal prosecutors say that on Aug. 22, 2018, a Luray police officer stopped Estep’s 2017 Chevrolet Camaro.
During the stop, a police K-9 alerted to suspected drugs located in the driver’s side door of the vehicle.
Prosecutors say that when Estep got out of the car, a syringe was visible from his pants pocket and it fell to the ground.
Officers then searched inside of the car.
On the passenger seat, prosecutors say, officers found a zipper wallet with two plastic baggies containing a large quantity of methamphetamine along with Estep’s driver’s license.
Multiple syringes were found on the seat and floorboard on the driver’s side, prosecutors say.
Following his arrest, he told police that he began using meth in 2017 and, shortly after, began buying large quantities and selling it.
Prosecutors say Estep traveled to Oklahoma, where he bought the drugs, and returned to Edinburg to resell it.
In one trip, prosecutors say, he bought 19 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at $79,000, to bring back to Virginia.
On the day of his arrest, officers searched his Edinburg home, finding 7 pounds of methamphetamine in a cooler in his living room, along with $36,580.
Estep is being held at the Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange as he awaits sentencing.