January 23, 2013
Bail bondsman found guilty of selling steroids
As a bail bondsman, Shawn David Sullivan operated on the margins of the criminal justice system. Now he is in the middle of it.Sullivan was convicted on Tuesday of multiple felony drug charges for selling anabolic steroids to an undercover agent in 2010, officials said. Judge Jay Hockenbury sentenced Sullivan, 42, to 18 months of supervised probation and ordered him to surrender his bond license and pay a $1,000 fine in addition to $2,839 in court costs. If Sullivan’s probation is later revoked for a violation, he will face up to a year in prison, officials said. Geoffrey Hosford, Sullivan’s attorney, said his client appealed the verdict and the sentence will not actually take effect until the appellate process has run its course. “We’re disappointed,” Hosford about the verdict. “We obviously felt it was a really good example of entrapment.” The guilty verdict, announced by a jury in New Hanover County Superior Court, caps a two-year-long criminal case that caught the attention of county commissioners at the time of Sullivan’s arrest in 2010. New Hanover County contracts with Sullivan’s then-employer, Tarheel Monitoring, to monitor defendants awaiting trial for pending criminal charges. And evidence collected during the investigation showed Sullivan selling illegal steroids outside the company’s office on Princess Street downtown. The county ultimately maintained its relationship with Tarheel despite expressing initial concerns. The trial lasted days as the 12-person jury heard from several witnesses, including Sullivan, who testified that he thought he was supplying the drugs to a friend as a favor and never profited from the deals. The jury found Sullivan guilty of five counts of possession with intent to sell or deliver a controlled substance and five counts selling or delivering a controlled substance - all felonies - after a few hours of deliberation. They acquitted him on one misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, according to officials. The New Hanover County Vice and Narcotics Unit began its investigation into Sullivan’s dealings in September 2010. Investigators arranged several so-called “controlled buys,” where an informant purchased drugs with marked bills. Hosford said the informant set Sullivan up after authorities threatened him with drug charges in connection to his involvement with cocaine distribution. Investigators searched Sullivan’s Wilmington home in October 2010 and, while they did not turn up illegal steroids, did locate a box of human growth hormone in the refrigerator in the garage. HGH, while not controlled like heroin or cocaine, is regulated by the federal government because it carries dangerous side effects.