Former Cape athlete gets probation for crack cocaine charges

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A high school student was placed on five years' probation for crack cocaine charges stemming from an undercover police sting last summer.

Circuit Judge William L. Syler handed down the probation Tuesday to Anthony Hempstead, who admitted to selling crack cocaine on two occasions June 14.

Hempstead, 17, of 1001 S. Sprigg St., was originally charged with two counts of distributing a controlled substance, a class B felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison for each count.

The charges were later amended to two counts of possession, a class C felony, to which Hempstead pleaded guilty on Tuesday.

If Hempstead violates any aspect of his probation, which includes refraining from alcohol and illegal drugs, he could receive a prison term of 14 years, the judge warned.

Hempstead, a former basketball player for the Central High School Tigers, was accompanied in court Tuesday by his uncle. The defendant told the judge he was enrolled in an alternative education program.

A Cape Girardeau School District representative declined to comment on whether Hempstead was enrolled in the district.

Hempstead was one of 19 people charged in connection to the 2 1/2-month undercover police operation into an open-air cocaine market on South Hanover Street last summer.

An undercover officer on loan from Bollinger County would make the buys, which involved about $20 worth of crack, according to Cape Girardeau detective Bill Bohnert.

335-6611, extension 127

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