CHARLOTTE — One of two fugitives already convicted in connection with a sweeping drug raid in a York neighborhood last year has been found in Charlotte after he failed to show up for his trial last month in which a judge sentenced him to at least a decade in prison.
Now, law enforcement is waiting to see if Gregory Weasel Davis will be released on a $300,000 bond they fear might give him the opportunity to avoid returning to York County and facing his time behind bars.
A month ago, a jury found both Gregory Davis, 46, and his nephew, Jeffrey Davis, 45, guilty of several drug and conspiracy charges. They were arrested in October during Operation Fall Back, a joint law enforcement drug sting that netted 15 arrests and 46 warrants in one weekend.
Police documents accuse the Davises of selling crack cocaine to an undercover informant in the Valley neighborhood of York. Most of the suspected dealers were arrested, including both Davis men, before being released on bond.
Both Davises failed to appear during their June trials so bench warrants were issued for their arrests, authorities said. They were tried, convicted and sentenced in their absence.
Gregory Davis faced anywhere from 10 to 30 years behind bars. Jeffrey Davis, who received his third strike in the drug sweep, will, under state law, be sentenced to life in prison.
Two weeks ago, county drug enforcement agents received a tip that Gregory Davis was hiding in Mecklenburg County, said Lt. Mike Ligon, drug enforcement commander for York and Clover.
Investigators with the Mecklenburg County Sheriffs Office found him living with a woman in a home in Pineville, N.C., and arrested him, Ligon said.
Gregory Davis has since been held at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center on a $300,000 bond, a condition thats frustrating to York County officials waiting to see if he might be able to pay his way out of jail and evade local authorities again, said Jennifer Colton, assistant 16th Circuit Solicitor.
If he posts bond, he likely wont return, said Colton, adding that the time and resources law enforcement used while looking for him might be wasted.
Hes fighting extradition, Ligon said, opting not to voluntarily return to York County, and jurisdictional issues prevent local authorities from going to Charlotte to pick him up, even if he were to be released on bond.
Though the bench warrant issued on Gregory Davis will last forever, if he manages to post bond before extradition is finished, it will give him the chance to leave North Carolina for another state, Colton said. Authorities will have to search for him again.
Why take the risk? Colton wondered. There is no presumption. He is convicted. Theyre not allegations. A jury found him guilty.
If extradition is complete and Gregory Davis returns to the county, the sealed sentence will be opened, officials will learn how many years the judge sentenced him to prison and he will be sent to the state Department of Corrections, Colton said.
But, the extradition process in North Carolina can be lengthy.
According to North Carolina law, once an officer locates a fugitive wanted in another state, prosecutors from that state must submit an application for formal extradition and provide paperwork proving that the alleged crime or subsequent conviction was committed in that state.
If the defendant refuses extradition, the states governor must submit a letter to North Carolinas governor requesting that the defendant be turned over to the other states authorities.
Once arrested, the fugitive is held in the county prison, while the state demanding the defendant must decide how to proceed while paying for the fugitives stay in another state.
The defendant is given an appearance before the magistrate, who allows them to argue why they do not want to be extradited.
North Carolina law allows a magistrate to set bond on a fugitive if the crime the defendant is charged with is not punishable by death or life imprisonment in the state where the offense occurred.
Police are still searching for Jeffrey Davis, Ligon said.
Jonathan McFadden • 803-329-4082