A Lake Havasu City man facing a possible prison term for drug convictions walked free from the Mohave Courthouse Thursday. Judge Billy Sipe decided not to order prison or further jail time for Christopher Blanker, 28.
Blanker would have faced mandatory prison had the trial jury found him guilty of possessing methamphetamine and heroin for sale. The panel, however, rejected the sales allegation and found Blanker guilty of simple possession of both drugs.
Blanker was also found guilty of possessing marijuana for sale, possessing oxycodone and for possessing paraphernalia associated with use of heroin, meth and marijuana. The January, 2018 search of his home was based on an investigation of suspected marijuana trafficking from the residence.
Defense attorney Brad Rideout spoke of how much Blanker has changed while his case has been pending for some 18 months. Rideout said that Blanker completed drug dependency rehabilitation, became gainfully employed and refocused on family, wife and children.
“He’s stepping up as a dad. He’s stepping up as a husband,” Rideout said. Rideout said defendants often bear animosity toward law enforcement, but that Blanker and family members are actually thankful that officers caught him so he could awaken from his criminal slumber.
Blanker reportedly admitted selling marijuana, but insisted that the other drugs were for personal use and not for sale. That the jury verdicts reflected that contention made Blanker probation eligible.
“You are very lucky that you were not convicted of mandatory prison offenses,” Judge Sipe said. He noted that he was impressed that Blanker is apparently making a better life for himself and his family.
After declining a prison sentence, Judge Sipe said he would impose no further jail time as a condition of his three year-long probation. Judge Sipe said the law required him to order Blanker to perform 960 hours of community work service.