Rogers Brothers Indicted

By Linda Cicoira — Three brothers were accused of selling cocaine and other drugs in indictments brought by a Northampton Grand Jury earlier this month. The court records were made public Monday. 

One of the defendants, Roquan Lee’teq “Cake” Rogers, 19, of Benjamin Banneker Road in Exmore, was accused of being the shooter in an October 2017 murder-for-hire scheme in Accomack last year. The victim, an Eastern Shore Drug Task Force informant, had testified about a week earlier in the cocaine distribution trial of Roquan Roger’s brother, Akeem Markiese Rogers, 27, of Madame CJ Walker Lane in Exmore.

Roquan Rogers and another brother, Rovonte L. Rogers, 22, with addresses at Madame CJ Walker Lane, and Banneker Road in Exmore, were indicted on six drug offenses on May 11. Akeem Rogers was indicted on nine counts. All the charges stem from April 14, 2017, incidents. 

The indictments were sealed by Judge W. Revell Lewis III until the three could be arrested. Akeem and Roquan Rogers are being held in Accomack County Jail. Rovante Rogers is in the Eastern Shore Regional Jail.

Roquan and Rovante Rogers were indicted most recently for selling cocaine; selling Dibutylone, a stimulant; selling between a half-ounce and five pounds of marijuana; and conspiring to sell the drugs with the other two.

Akeem Rogers was also accused of those counts. In addition, the grand jury indicted him on charges of possessing or transporting a firearm after being convicted of a violent felony, possession of a firearm while in possession of cocaine, and possession of a firearm while possessing Dibutylone.

Records do not disclose any previous convictions for Roquan Rogers. 

Rovante Rogers pleaded guilty in Northampton Circuit Court to cocaine distribution on Nov. 20, 2017, in connection with a Jan. 4, 2017, incident. Records show he has not yet been sentenced.

After a two-day jury trial at which Johnson testified, Akeem Rogers changed his plea to guilty. The charge was cocaine distribution stemming from a March 28, 2017, incident. He has not yet been sentenced for that crime. Like his brother, Rovante Rogers, Akeem Rogers was also charged with cocaine distribution in a Jan. 4, 2017, incident. That charge has not yet gone to trial.

In 2012, Akeem Rogers was convicted of selling marijuana on both March 13 and 23, 2011, and of selling a Schedule I or II substance on March 23, 2011. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison each with all but a month suspended and indefinite probation. Two other marijuana distribution charges made that year were not prosecuted. He got two years in 2015 for a probation violation with no time suspended.

It was unclear what his violent felony conviction was.

Johnson, 31, who has had addresses at Linhaven Circle where he was shot three times on Oct. 31, 2017, and at Nassawadox, has had his own problems. He was sentenced in Accomack Circuit Court in 2006 for a burglary and grand larceny that occurred in June 2005, when he was 19. He got two five-year suspended sentences, lost his driver’s license for six months, was on probation for five years and indefinite supervision. 

In October 2012, he eluded police and got five years in prison with all but a year and a half suspended. His driver’s license was suspended for 90 days. 

In October 2015 in Northampton Circuit Court, he was charged with hit-and-run with injury and driving with a revoked license. Johnson was sentenced to three years with all but nine months suspended to run consecutively with 12 months for the license offense. All but two months of the latter term was suspended.

A total of six people stand accused in the scheme. Johnson and Dezarae Smith, 19, were both shot. Johnson identified Roquan Rogers as the hitman at a preliminary hearing. Court records show payment for Johnson’s death was set at $3,000.

Scammers Target Elderly

By Linda Cicoira — Beware. With warmer weather come scam artists who will attempt to take advantage of you or your loved ones. 

Residents should ask for credentials before entering into an agreement with those offering their services for home improvements and call the county sheriff’s office if they feel pressured or become suspicious, said Accomack Sheriff Todd Godwin. “And don’t pay until the job is completed.”

“First thing I’d ask is to see their business license,” the officer continued. He noted telephone scams occur too as one happened to his neighbor who lost $10,000 in the recent deal. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Godwin. “She was elderly and lived by herself.”

Building and zoning officials told Godwin a contractor’s license is not needed for work under $1,000. But a business license is required to do work in Accomack County.

Another scammer went to the home of a local grandmother, who has dementia and is in her 80s. He falsely claimed to have done work there and wanted payment. It happened on May 8, in South Chesconessex, her granddaughter said.

“A couple of guys from South Carolina came to my place one day and wanted to paint one of my buildings,” a Painter woman told the Eastern Shore Post. “They’d probably never painted anything in their lives. Friends sent me articles about some South Carolina families who defrauded people for a living.”

Her 94-year-old mother “lives alone and I sometimes think she pays people too much to do stuff for her,” the daughter said. “She was brought up to always pay for what she got, but (she) is too trusting, like most good people.”

“They offer to paint roofs and such and then scam people, especially older generations,” another woman added to the conversation. They use “watered down paint” and bring along “stacks of empty paint buckets” as they charge by the can. 

An Onley woman has been suspicious of those who have asked her for work. “That must be the same couple of guys who have come here to the farm, not at the same time, maybe twice a year, wanting to paint my barn roof. Had one walk all the way out in the back pasture when I was on the tractor last year. Then earlier this year, the same guy pulled up in the driveway to the back door and honked his horn. I have always told them no thanks, but thought it was suspicious.”

“You would be amazed at how many ‘contractors’ browse the obituaries looking for recent widows to victimize,” a Pennsylvania man wrote on the Post’s Facebook page. “Selling new roofs, heating systems, etc., that are not necessary. I had a funeral home trying to sell me a headstone” for his son’s grave. “I don’t even have a son,” the man said. He used an internet search engine search and “found a gentleman in Lancaster County with the same name as me whose son had recently been killed in Iraq. The funeral home apparently saw this information in the local newspaper and decided to prospect for business.”

“Talk to your seniors about these maggots, lest they get scammed,” the man said.

“Lots of druggies trying to scam people, especially the elderly,” a local resident wrote. “I am elderly and very distrustful of ‘handymen.’ Years ago, I had someone try and scam me and (I) had him locked up. His girlfriend paid the money back. I had a so-called ‘plumber’ do some work for me a couple of years ago and it was a mess and ended up costing me more to fix his screwups. Now I do a criminal background check before hiring anyone.”

Quartet at Recent CBA Banquet Have Held Delegate Seat for 55 Years

Special to the Post By Bill Sterling –– The four delegates who have served the 100th District and the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the House of Delegates for the past 55 years were all gathered at the Eastern Shore Christian Businessmen’s Prayer Breakfast recently to hear Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, another native son of the Shore.
Starting in 1963 with the election of George N. McMath at the age of 31, then the youngest member of the House of Delegates, the seat has been held continuously by the quartet, with McMath serving 14 years, Robert “Bob” S. Bloxom serving 28 years, Sen. Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. serving 10 years, and Del. Robert “Rob” Bloxom Jr. elected in 2014. The span of service surpassing a half century, with all four legislators still living, is likely unmatched by any area in the state.
Both Lewis and Bloxom Jr., the current holder of the 100th seat, say turnover in the representation is greater than in past years. Lewis started at 99th in seniority and moved up to the low 30s when he left the House to successfully run for the state Senate seat, a position he holds today. Although only in the House for four years now, Bloxom Jr. is already 63rd in seniority after starting 100th.
While McMath agrees that a quick turnover in seats is prevalent today, he notes he was 13th in seniority when he left in 1977 to devote more time to being chairman of the Republican Party, a position he held for the next five years, leading significant gains for the GOP.
McMath’s position as head of the Republican Party was somewhat ironic because he was first elected as a Democrat when there were only five Republicans in the House. McMath and several other state legislators switched parties in 1972 when George McGovern was nominated for president and Henry Howell gained control of the state Democratic Party. “There wasn’t any room for conservative Democrats during that time,” recalls McMath.
McMath Finds His Successor
One of McMath’s jobs as party chairman was to recruit candidates for seats in the House of Delegates and the Senate. One of the first candidates he recruited to run for the seat he was vacating was Bob Bloxom, who owned an auto parts dealership in Mappsville. Bloxom resisted at first and then finally relented, calling McMath by the initials F.P. “What does F.P. mean?” asked McMath. “Friendly persuader,” responded Bloxom.
The makeup of the House was entirely different in McMath’s time.
In 1963, there were 99 men and one woman with no African-Americans in the House.
With the 2016 election, there are now 18 women and 12 African-Americans, a composition Lewis notes is much closer to representing our population than it was 55 years ago.
Sometimes the issues don’t change all that much, but the numbers are much different. McMath notes that in his time, there was a great debate about raising a teacher’s minimum annual salary from $3,400 to $3,600. Bloxom Jr. says the two-year budget is now about $115 billion.
Even in 1973, McMath could secure a room at the Jefferson Hotel for as little as $15.50 a day, with no additional charge when your spouse visited Richmond. In McMath’s early years, his hotel room also served as his office, but in 1970 the state bought two nearby hotels and converted them into offices for the legislators.
During McMath’s first term, legislators were paid $126 per week and nothing when not in session. Today, delegates are paid $17,640 per year ($18,000 for the Senate).
Both Lewis and Bloxom say the positions are stretching way beyond the annual sessions. “With the budget issues we are facing and the various commissions, committees and study groups we serve on now, the time we spend in Richmond gets longer every year,” says Lewis.
Lewis Tested on Bridge-Tunnel
Issue Early
Lewis says one of the greatest challenges he faced as a delegate was an attempt by several legislators from both the House and Senate to overthrow the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Commission, use toll revenues for other state transportation projects and kill the tunnel expansion plan.
Obviously, with the recent start of the tunnel construction and the commission still in place, the effort to create a regional bridge and tunnel authority that would include the Chesapeake Bridge-Tunnel span was unsuccessful.
Lewis said helping get the Spaceport at NASA Wallops to the next level with the introduction of Orbital ATK, the dredging of waterways on both the Shore and the Northern Neck, the addition of broadband and, just recently, steps to battle the opioid crisis are some of the key pieces of legislation in which he’s been involved that have given him the most gratification representing the Eastern Shore.
Although he represented a different party than his two predecessors, McMath and Bloxom, Lewis cites their bipartisanship when it came to serving the Eastern Shore. “I was maybe 10 when I was at one of George’s election parties, so I don’t recall much about his time in the General Assembly,” says Lewis. “However, I knew he was a man with an outstanding reputation who was to be admired. I watched Bob closely for years in the House of Delegates and saw he represented the Shore in what we call the ‘the Virginia Way.’ He was a true gentleman who often made decisions that were in the best interest of Eastern Shore but not necessarily supported by his party. I’ve tried to live up to that standard.”
McMath and the Million Dollar Conversation
McMath says that looking back, establishing Eastern Shore Community College in Melfa is one of his proudest achievements. “We had an Eastern Shore branch of the University of Virginia at Wallops when the community college bill was proposed and included the transfer of the branch into the community college system,” recalls McMath.
McMath adds, “There was an uproar and Eastern Shoremen spoke loud and clear they wanted to maintain the association with UVA.”
McMath visited Governor Linwood Holton with Robert Bloxom, the school’s advisory committee chairman, and Lucius Kellam III, past chairman, and Gov. Holton asked the group, “What would it take for you to agree to the transfer of your local college to the community college system?”
McMath responded, “Give us a million dollars for a new building and locate it centrally on the Eastern Shore.”
McMath recalls, “The governor literally rose from his chair, slapped his hand on his desk and said ‘You’ve got it.’ ”
Noting that Holton seemed relieved, McMath adds that he doesn’t think the Eastern Shore has ever regretted the decision.
McMath says that that dredging on the Intracoastal Waterway was another major project for which he helped obtain funding.
But he is quick to add that it was often the smaller projects that were met with the most enthusiasm. “I helped get the Oyster and Maritime Museum $15,000 when the people of Chincoteague were trying to build it. Today it is the Museum of Chincoteague. There could not have been a more appreciative group of people.”
Bloxom Opposed Only Three of 14 Elections
One of the challenges of being a Virginia delegate is having to run for re-election every two years. All four past and current delegates say it feels like you are constantly campaigning once elected.
However, Bob Bloxom realizes he was fortunate to have opposition only three times in 14 elections. His son, Rob, counting a special election, already has faced opposition three times in three elections. “I tell Dad I must be doing something wrong,” says the younger Bloxom.
His father says it was a sign of the times that often no Democratic or Independent candidate would enter the race against him. It was also the bipartisan manner that Bloxom represented the Eastern Shore that kept the opposition at bay.
“One of the main reasons I left after 28 years was the party wanted to dictate to you how you should vote, and I thought then it was time for someone else to run,” says Bloxom Sr.
Ten months after leaving office, Bloxom was appointed to be the first Virginia Secretary of Agriculture by a Democratic governor and remained in that position when a Democratic governor was elected two years into his six years of service.
The senior Bloxom says that seeing the community college grow during his years, getting the Farmers Market established on the Shore, opening a state park near Kiptopeke and developing the Spaceport were major milestones during his 28 years.
“The truth is it takes many people to accomplish anything in Richmond,” he says. “It was a team effort, and I was glad to be a part of it.”
Bloxom Sr. represented only the Eastern Shore of Virginia during his first term, but then Middlesex was added to his district, and later, that county was exchanged for Mathews. “They tried to tell me it was a shorter drive for me after I had gotten to know the people in Middlesex. It was all of five minutes closer,” recalls Bloxom.
Later, the district was redrawn to include portions of Norfolk and Ocean View.
But Bob Bloxom was best known for being from the Eastern Shore and using “show and tell” tactics to explain his bills. More than once, a photo appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch of him holding up a crab pot on the floor of the General Assembly and explaining how it works.
Times Are Different for Rob Bloxom
The younger Bloxom says it is hard to bring a crab scrape on the floor of the General Assembly, but recently he gave an explanation of crabbing that included the terms “jimmies” and “sooks.” An urban legislator raised his hand following Bloxom’s presentation and said, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t understand a word you said.”
Rob Bloxom, a Republican like his father, says that at the state level it’s not always about party lines, but urban versus rural interests. “I work with Lynwood on many issues that affect the Shore, and I have a Republican friend who often votes against me because he represents an urban area.” Bloxom Jr. adds that urban areas have made huge gains versus rural areas in representation since his father served in the General Assembly.
Rob Bloxom says sometimes the real work gets done in closed sessions when he has to stand up to a senior legislator and fight for the Eastern Shore.
One example is when Bloxom learned approximately $17 million was being appropriated for a crab hatchery in Gloucester. He argued that the Virginia Marine Institute of Science laboratory in Wachapreague could much better reproduce the growing conditions needed and that aquaculture is already a major industry on the Eastern Shore. Consequently, a similar amount was spent for new buildings at VIMS in Wachapreague in addition to renovating the existing structures.
Bloxom, like McMath many years before, feels that often it’s minor issues very important to a particular segment of his constituency that give him the most gratification.
“Dad always told me it’s a good day when you can help somebody, and he said in this position you can help a lot of people.”
Bloxom Jr. says his father often gives him valuable advice or points him to a person who can help with legislation, but the senior Bloxom’s offer of file cabinets he once used to store his records was turned down. “My father said, ‘What do you mean you don’t need any file cabinets? I had files stacked on files, and my car was jammed with them when I came home.’ ”
The younger Bloxom told his father he only had a few papers he could easily carry and everything else he needed was stored on his computer or iPad.
There was a time every legislator would have six or seven huge bill books. All that information is now sent electronically.
One other major change noted by Rob Bloxom is that when he first opened his office in Richmond, he took only one coffee cup with him. “I recall Dad bringing home boxes of coffee cups that were given to him by different groups. I think I have only been given one coffee cup in four years,” says Bloxom with a chuckle.
His larger point is that new ethics laws have impacted how legislators spend their time. “In Dad’s day, there were always nice affairs that included all kinds of food and entertainment. That’s just not done anymore. If I am invited to a meal or an event that is more than $50, I have to report it. If it’s more than $100, I can’t accept it.”
Despite being a fairly new delegate, the younger Bloxom has a long history with the 100th District, noting he was in middle school when his father was elected to the House of Delegates, seeing him serve for 28 years. Rob Bloxom’s son was also in middle school when he was elected.
But the “big money” in the campaigns disturbs him as he looks to the future. “It’s insane that some of these campaigns are spending a million bucks for a position that pays less than $18,000.”
Some Things Never Change
Some things in the General Assembly never seem to change. McMath says one of the most controversial issues he dealt with during his tenure was a proposal to allow bingo to be played. He says some churches and many firehouses made significant revenue from holding weekly bingo games, but with many legislators having moral issues about gambling, it wasn’t an easy decision.
Now, with the Supreme Court allowing the expansion of gambling to states other than Nevada, Virginia legislators soon will be faced with similar questions about how far gambling should be legalized.
McMath, who wrote about his experiences from his 14 years in the Virginia House of Delegates, probably summarized the life of a delegate or any legislator with the title of the book, “You Win Some, You Lose Some.”