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Before Drug Arrest, State Lawyer Visited House in West End


A West End house about a half-mile north of Windsor Farms is linked to last week's arrest of a lawyer in the state attorney general's office.

Norfolk investigators trailed Steven F. Lederman to Washington, D.C., then back through Richmond and to Hampton Roads before arresting him. Police charged him with felony possession with intent to distribute marijuana and a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

Lederman worked in the Division of Child Support Enforcement in Norfolk, and had been with the attorney general's office since 1997. A spokesman with the office says Lederman has been suspended without pay pending further investigation.

Richmond's cameo in the case is a two-story, 3,362-square-foot house at the northeast corner of Hanover and Malvern avenues. Investigators following Lederman report watching him walk from the house Feb. 19 with a red-and-white bag and accompanied by a white woman with blond hair.

When Lederman returned to Norfolk, the bag found in his van contained a wrapped “Christmas present” with marijuana inside, according to a search warrant affidavit filed Feb. 20 with Norfolk Circuit Court.

Robert E. and Heidi E. Dranoff have owned the Richmond house at 401 Malvern Ave. since June 1990, according to city records. The property is assessed at $618,000. The doorbell there went unanswered Monday morning, and the Dranoffs didn't respond to a message left with their answering service by press time.

The Dranoffs serve as president and vice president of the contracting company Mr. Asphalt, listed with the State Corporation Commission as Dranlon Enterprises Inc. Their house is listed as the company address.

The Dranoffs are named in the Feb. 20 affidavit, filed by Norfolk investigator M.C. Pederson in support of a search warrant on Lederman's home in Norfolk.

Acting on information from a confidential informant, the affidavit recounts the surveillance of Lederman the morning of Feb. 19. He drove a 12-passenger, silver Chevrolet van to Washington. Investigators caught up with him in Richmond, where they watched him leaving the Malvern house.

Police then stopped him for a traffic infraction in Norfolk, where a drug-sniffing dog named Rock made a positive detection on the bag containing the Christmas present. Police also found a mirror in the van with suspected cocaine residue. Lederman had a Weimaraner dog with him.

Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Herring declines to comment on the Richmond home, and Richmond police defer questions to the Norfolk Police Department. A spokesman for the department could not provide additional details Monday.

Reporter Michelle Washington with The Virginian-Pilot contributed to this report.

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