September 17, 2014

Elyria
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Drug smuggler who was caught in Fla. sentenced to 8 years

John Davis, the drug smuggler who was tracked down in Florida, enters court for sentencing on Wednesday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

John Davis, the drug smuggler who was tracked down in Florida, enters court for sentencing on Wednesday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — A drug smuggler on the run for nearly a year was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in prison.

John Davis, 54, was traced to a trailer park in Plant City, Fla., in April by Lorain bondsman Tony Horn after failing to show up for a scheduled June 2013 sentencing.

Davis said nothing before Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery handed down the sentence in the case.

Defense attorney Ronald Frey said after the hearing that his client had pleaded no contest to trafficking in marijuana and other charges in order to appeal Rothgery’s decision denying a motion to suppress the evidence against Davis.

Frey said now that Davis has been sentenced, he will begin the appeal process.

Jack Bradley, Davis’ former attorney, previously said that Davis appeared for his court dates despite medical issues that had led him to believe he wouldn’t live to see the end of the case.

According to a sentencing memorandum filed by Frey, Davis suffers from a variety of ailments ranging from macular degeneration and hepatitis C to cirrhosis of the liver and hernias.

Frey wrote that although Davis has a criminal history from the 1980s, he never served any jail time before the current case. He wrote that his client had worked in construction and in warehouses until his medical issues forced him to stop physical labor several years ago.

Davis was arrested in March 2011 after Ohio Highway Patrol troopers caught him with about 188 pounds of marijuana on the Ohio Turnpike.

Davis’ failure to appear for his original sentencing hearing has sparked a dispute over what will happen with the $200,000 bond that was posted by Access Bail Bonds and backed by Allegheny Casualty Co. after his 2011 arrest.

Rothgery had ordered the money forfeited to the state last year, but the company didn’t pay until March when it reached an agreement with county Prosecutor Dennis Will’s office to deposit the money with county Clerk of Courts Ron Nabakowski’s office.

The agreement gave the company until June 20 to find David or lose the money.

Since Horn, who was working with Access and Allegheny, tracked down Davis, the companies now are arguing that they should receive $190,000 of the money back.

But Assistant County Prosecutor Richard Gronsky argued in court documents that the only money that Allegheny should be entitled to is the $73,387 that was spent on finding and arresting Davis in Florida.

A hearing on that dispute is scheduled for later this month.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.


  • Chan

    All this for weed?

    • Ex_Subscriber

      For 188 POUNDS of it, yeah! That’s not a recreational stash, Mr. Chan.

      • ekwaykway

        I wonder if it was any good or just a bunch of grunt weed?

      • jz

        So what. It’s still weed. It has to come from somewhere right? Ridiculous Rothgery.

  • susan hill brown

    And who is the young man behind Davis? Seems like the photo could have been cropped to leave out the young man;s face.

    • S.A.

      Any of the public could have sat in and watched the proceedings. These criminal matters are referred to as public record for a reason. If you don’t want your face plastered in the newspaper, how about not committing crimes?

      • Joe Smith

        You get your face plastered in the news if you are innocent and accused also

    • Phil Blank

      The guy he got the Hep C from.?

  • Joe Smith

    So he gets 8 years for some weed that should be legal ( but legality is a whole other debate) and the other guy only get 7 years for attempted murder?