A former Park Hills councilman appeared at a sentencing hearing Friday in St. Francois County to learn his fate after pleading guilty to felony drug trafficking earlier this year.
Steven Sutton, 55, of Park Hills, received ten years in prison on one count of the Class B felony of trafficking in the first degree.
Sutton was initially charged in 2017 with Class A felony, drug trafficking in the first degree and pled not guilty. At a plea hearing held Jan. 10, he withdrew his previous not-guilty plea, entering a guilty plea to the lesser charge of Class B felony drug trafficking.
The defense asked Circuit Court Judge Wendy Wexler Horn to sentence Sutton to probation, but the prosecution asked for ten years.
The former Park Hills Councilman and local businessman was charged with the crime on March 4, 2017.
According to a probable cause statement from the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff's Office, on March 3, 2017, a deputy stopped a vehicle traveling westbound on Highway 32 in Ste. Genevieve County.
All three vehicle occupants gave the deputy permission to search the car, according to the statement.
While searching, the deputy found a large, clear, plastic baggy containing what field-tested positive for methamphetamine. Lab results later confirmed the field test results were correct.
All three people were arrested. Officers found a large amount of meth in the vehicle, about 404 grams or almost one pound.
The report states that officers were allowed to search a cell phone located in the car, on which the authorities discovered recorded phone conversations between one of the vehicle's occupants and Sutton.
In the telephone conversations recorded on the device, Sutton can be heard making payment and travel arrangements for more than 90 grams of methamphetamine. Additionally, an occupant of the vehicle positively identified Sutton as the person recorded in the phone calls.
According to court records, Sutton has a prior felony criminal record and was sentenced as a prior and persistent offender. He has previously been charged with receiving stolen property, third-degree assault and a parole violation.
Sutton was elected to represent Park Hills' Ward 1 in 2015, running unopposed.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com
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