South Pointe High School QB on bond after drug arrest

(Rock Hill) HeraldOctober 2, 2013 

— Davonta Blake, the South Pointe High starting quarterback charged with selling drugs at school, was suspended the day authorities escorted him from the campus to a jail cell, school district officials said Wednesday.

By Wednesday afternoon, Blake, 17, left jail on a $30,000 bond after police charged him with six drug felonies.

Before classes dismissed Tuesday afternoon, police arrested Blake after school administrators learned he had been selling marijuana on school grounds, police say. School officials performed a search and found Blake with a large prescription pill bottle filled with seven individually wrapped packages of marijuana, said Executive Officer Mark Bollinger of the Rock Hill Police Department. They also discovered that he had sold marijuana to a student on Tuesday.

School officials notified South Pointe’s resource officer and Blake was taken into custody, Bollinger said.

Police searched Blake’s Mays Court home and found a Mason jar filled with 12 baggies of marijuana in his bedroom, Bollinger said. Blake’s family gave police consent to search the house.

Blake is charged with two counts of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute; possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute in proximity to a school; possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute in proximity to a park; distribution of marijuana; and distribution of marijuana in proximity to a school.

Police have said that more arrests are pending, but no additional charges had been filed Wednesday.

A police report lists a 15-year-old girl as a suspect in the case. It’s believed that she is the student who purchased pot from Blake, Bollinger said.

Bollinger said there is no indication other South Pointe football players are involved with selling or using marijuana.

Blake was suspended from school and will remain on suspension until Al Leonard, South Pointe’s principal, makes a formal disciplinary recommendation to the district, said Rock Hill school district spokeswoman Elaine Baker.

A recommendation should be made by Monday, Baker said. Friday is a holiday for students while school staff members attend a conference.

Leonard could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Students caught selling or distributing drugs at school just once will be recommended for expulsion and criminal charges filed, according to South Pointe’s 2013-14 student handbook.

Students found in possession of drugs for the first time are placed in out-of-school suspension for three days and have to undergo a program at Keystone Treatment Center. The second time, they’ll be recommended for expulsion.

Rock Hill schools do not mandate random drug testing. Baker said, to her knowledge, there has been no discussion about starting such testing.

Students in extracurricular activities who are charged with felonies are unable to participate for the rest of the school year, according to South Pointe’s policies.

South Pointe Athletic Director Michael Drummond and Stallions football coach Strait Herron declined to comment.

Blake, a senior, has rushed 49 times for 254 yards and four touchdowns this season for the Stallions. He’s also thrown for 912 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Stallions, 4-1, play the state’s top-ranked Class AAAA school, Northwestern, on Friday at South Pointe. Blake will not be playing in that game.

During a bond hearing Wednesday morning, York County Magistrate Mandrile Young set Blake’s bond at $30,000 – $5,000 for each of his six charges.

Four of those charges allege Blake possessed and distributed drugs on school grounds. Officers recovered 2.4 grams of marijuana at South Pointe during the investigation, according to an arrest warrant.

Two other charges accuse him of possessing 3.4 grams of pot at his home in Rock Hill’s College Downs neighborhood, which houses a community park just feet from Blake’s house, according to another arrest warrant.

“You don’t get treated well because you’re the quarterback of the football team, but you won’t be treated worse,” said 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett. “He’ll be treated just like anybody else.”

Unable to hire his own attorney, Blake will be represented by a York County public defender. At his hearing Wednesday, Blake asked the magistrate about pretrial intervention, a program for first-time offenders that wipes their record clean if they successfully finish the program, engage in a community service project and often write a paper about their charges. Young told Blake he wasn’t sure if he would be eligible but suggested that he try drug court. Drug court helps defendants alleged to have committed crimes “driven by addiction” to treat their addiction and live drug-free, Brackett said.

The defendants plead guilty to the charge and receive hefty sentences, Brackett said. The sentence is put on pause while they participate in the program, anywhere from 18 months to two years.

Counselors “constantly monitor their behavior,” giving them daily or weekly drug screenings, he said. “It’s certainly not a cake walk.”

If those enrolled pass, their sentence is held off for a year. If they stay clean in that year, the sentence is dismissed and the charges are expunged from their record. If they fail, the plea is withdrawn, Brackett said, and they are sentenced.

Willette Blake, the quarterback’s mother, was at a doctor’s appointment Tuesday when she got the call about her son’s arrest.

“It’s just a huge shock to the whole family,” she said, and “an embarrassment.” When police went to her home, she handed over a purple bag belonging to her son. Inside, they found the Mason jar.

“I cooperated, just like he’s cooperated,” she said. Blake wanted to attend Clemson University to play football, she said. He hadn’t yet been accepted to the university.

“He’s a good person,” she said. “I don’t know what happened.” Blake has been playing football since he was 6 years old, his mother said. “He was always a champion.”

Willette Blake said she had no idea her son was allegedly involved in selling drugs. “I’m sorry that this happened like this,” she said while fighting tears. “It’s a mistake he’s got to correct.”

Before her son’s release from jail, Willette Blake said she was not informed about her son’s bond hearing.

If she had known, “I would have been in the courtroom by his side,” she said. “You can’t find one parent whose child never did wrong,” she said.

Herald reporter Rachel Southmayd contributed

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