Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2012, 8:29 pm

California man sentenced to 12 years in prison

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By Lisa Hammer rlhammer@qconline.com

CAMBRIDGE — A California man was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for Class X felony cannabis trafficking in a stipulated bench trial before Henry County Circuit Judge Charles "Casey" Stengel.

Two other counts were dismissed.

Harold Weaver, 58, of Weaverville, also was ordered to pay a fine of $6,000, plus court costs, and a $140,000 street value fine, and serve three years mandatory supervised release.

The judge explained to Mr. Weaver that the stipulation he was entering was tantamount to a plea of guilty, and he was giving up all rights with the exception of the right to appeal.

Mr. Weaver was stopped by Trooper Shawn Veryzer for going 70 in a 65 miler per hour zone at about 8 p.m. Aug. 4. The trooper said he smelled the faint odor of cannabis and a search of the trunk yielded 28 pounds of cannabis wrapped in clear plastic bags in two duffel bags.

Mr. Weaver then admitted to Sgt. Sue Cervantez of the Black Hawk Area Task Force that he was traveling from California to the Bronx, New York, and had made six such trips since May.

"I'm very sorry for what I did. I never pictured myself in prison, but I guess that's where I'm going to be. If there was any mercy for me, I'd appreciate it," he told the judge.

Judge Stengel said he couldn't change the terms of a negotiated agreement. But noting an appeal could take a couple of years and Mr. Weaver's wife was ill, the judge granted his request to remain out while his motion to suppress evidence was being appealed.

He ordered Mr. Weaver to surrender his passport and for the county to hold his $6,000 bond. Mr. Weaver was represented by defense attorney Bruce Carmen.