Pa. man will get knee surgery before reporting to MDOC
A Pennsylvania man was ordered to serve 15 years in prison after getting caught with almost 40 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop in Jones County.
Clarence Teague, 42, pleaded guilty in Jones County Circuit Court to the lesser charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute after being charged with trafficking a controlled substance. He was represented by Hattiesburg attorney Tracy Klein.
Teague had 18 kilograms of high-grade pot in a suitcase in December 2016 when he was stopped by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, just inside the Jones County line on Highway 84 West, prosecutor Kristen Martin said. Teague was reportedly on his way to Pennsylvania at the time of his arrest, and after he posted bond at the Jones County Adult Detention Center, he went there. He was found in Farrell, Pa., last November after the court was notified of his location by the FBI, which tracked him down because he was illegally receiving Social Security benefits. Teague has been convicted of at least one felony before this one, but it wasn’t in his court file.
Teague was ordered to serve 15 years in the full-time custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, five years of post-release supervision under MDOC and pay $417.50 in court costs. He will also have to coordinate with the community service program in Jones County to perform work for an approved charity in Pennsylvania, Judge Dal Williamson ordered.
Teague sat down throughout the proceeding, telling the judge that he is scheduled to have knee-replacement surgery in Pennsylvania. Klein asked that his client be allowed to go through with the procedure then report to the MDOC on July 10, after the operation and rehabilitation.
“I’m not going to run,” Teague said, standing with the assistance of a cane and hobbling.
Williamson agreed with the request on one condition: “If you fail to report (on the date and time in the court order), you will be ordered to serve 30 years in the penitentiary.” That change was made in the plea agreement and signed by the defendant and his attorney.
If Teague had undergone the surgery while in custody, taxpayers would have been saddled with the medical bill, court officials pointed out.
Gary Teague, 44, of Staunton, Va., was also charged in the same offense but his case has yet to be resolved in court.