A warrant was issued for the arrest of a St. Clair area man who missed the start of a jury trial on 2015 drug charges of growing marijuana.
Steven M. Sutherland, 58, failed to appear in court Thursday, Oct. 11, for a jury trial. There is a $25,000 cash-only bond. A new hearing has been set for Oct. 23.
Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Parks said Sutherland stated he checked himself in to SSM Health DePaul Hospital, Bridgeton. The suspect allegedly drove himself to the hospital, Parks added.
A jury trial on several felony and misdemeanor use of drug paraphernalia charges was slated to begin in front of 12th Circuit Court Judge Michael S. Wright, of Warren County.
Sutherland was charged in July 2015 with one charge of possession of drugs with the intent to distribute, three charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, as well as possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia,
According to court records, Sutherland initially was charged in the Franklin County Associate Circuit Court July 10, 2015. In January 2016 the case was transferred to the Franklin County 20th District Circuit Court.
According to the probable cause statement for the original charges filed by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department in the prosecutor’s office, on Jan. 23, 2015, Sutherland was in possession of about 110 grams of marijuana and 21 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. The plants were located in the basement of his home on Highway K.
Detectives searched the residence and seized numerous marijuana pipes, rolling papers, digital scales, handheld scales and other paraphernalia.
Sutherland also was in possession of lights, ballasts, pots, potting soil and other items used in the growth of marijuana.
Authorities allege Sutherland, a convicted felon, was illegally in possession of a Martin .22-caliber rifle, Winchester 30-30 rifle and a Century Arms 7.62 rifle.