Bellevue resident Justin J. Palumbo apologized to the court for not appearing for his earlier sentencing hearing.
"I don't mean no disrespect for missing my last court date," the 19-year-old drug defendant said Wednesday. "I was afraid I'd lose my job. ... It wasn't a very smart thing to do."
Palumbo failed to appear for a sentencing hearing scheduled for July 31.
At the time, Huron County Public Defender David Longo told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway he "had no idea" where Palumbo was. Longo had given a "last call-out" in the hallway outside the courtroom, but the only people there were two women. The judge issued a warrant for Palumbo's arrest.
Palumbo pleaded guilty in mid-June to one count of trafficking in hydrocodone. As part of a plea deal, the state dismissed two similar charges in connection with incidents on Dec. 11 and 17.
The conviction is for a Nov. 26 controlled drug buy when Palumbo sold .6 grams of hydrocodone to a confidential informant used by the Huron County Sheriff's Office, prosecutors said. The Ohio Bureau of Investigation later analyzed the drugs and confirmed it was hydrocodone.
Palumbo was arrested on a secret indictment during a three-county sweep in mid-April coordinated by the sheriff's office. Local deputies plus those from Erie, Richland and Sandusky counties and members of seven police departments assisted in the arrests of about 18 suspects.
Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff had recommended Palumbo spend four to six months in a community-based corrections facility and obtain his GED. A CBCF focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.
"Hopefully he can take this seriously and improve himself," Woodruff said.
Palumbo, who was ordered to a CBCF, will be on three years of probation, which Conway said will include a "high level" of supervision. The defendant also was fined $250 and must obtain his GED. His driver's license was suspended for six months.
A probation violation could result in a one-year prison sentence.