Eighth Circuit Solicitor David M. Stumbo said a North Carolina man was found guilty on drug charges after he did not appear for his court date.
According to the solicitor, Calvin Whitener, 43, was convicted of trafficking cocaine, third or subsequent offense. Whitener was found guilty after a two-day trial at the Newberry County Courthouse, the solicitor said.
The judge issued a sentence, but it will remained sealed until Whitener appears before the court, the solicitor said. Whitener's charge carries a sentence of 25-30 years and a fine up to $50,000, the solicitor stated.
According to the solicitor, the charge stems from a 2014 incident in which officers found 36 grams of cocaine and $800 in cash in Whitener's possession during a traffic stop.
The solicitor said a bench warrant was issued for Whitener after he did not appear for mandated court dates. According to the solicitor, Whitener's attorney asked for a plea deal and was told he would be tried in absence if he did not appear.
Prosecutors extended Whitener's deadline to Wednesday after he did not appear in court on Monday, the solicitor said. Whitener did not appear on Wednesday, the solicitor said.
“I am proud of the cooperation between my staff and law enforcement that led to Calvin Whitener’s conviction,” Solicitor Stumbo said. “This man came to our community from somewhere else to push his poison, and I encourage anyone with any information on Whitener’s whereabouts to immediately notify law enforcement.”
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