A Manchester man will serve four weekends in jail after being convicted of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.
Daniel Adam Whalen, 23, of the 2900 block of Manchester Baptist Road, pleaded not guilty but agreed not to challenge the state's version of the facts Tuesday in Carroll County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to four years in prison with all but four weekends suspended.
Whalen, who apologized to the court, said his family was struggling and he did not always make the best decisions. Judge Fred S. Hecker told Whalen financial hardship does not justify committing a felony.
Whalen and his co-defendant, Christopher Lewis Whalen, 27, also of Manchester, were arrested in December after their car was stopped near the intersection of Md. 26 and Md. 27 by a trooper from the Maryland State Police Westminster Barrack for an inoperable brake light and broken tail light, according to the statement of facts read into the record by Assistant State's Attorney R. Aron Benjamin.
The trooper identified Christopher Whalen as the driver and Daniel Whalen as the passenger and questioned the men about the odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle, according to Benjamin.
Daniel Whalen told the trooper a backpack near his feet belonging to Christopher Whalen contained marijuana, according to Benjamin. After speaking to Christopher Whalen, the trooper arrested and searched him, finding a small bag of suspected marijuana in his pocket. Christopher Whalen is scheduled for a trial July 9 in the Circuit Court for Carroll County, according to electronic court files.
The trooper also searched the vehicle and the backpack, finding marijuana allegedly packaged for distribution and paraphernalia, according to Benjamin. Daniel Whalen was also searched and had $2,000 in cash and a small bag of marijuana in his possession.
Defense attorney Haven Shoemaker told Hecker that Daniel Whalen works three jobs, including two part-time positions with his church, and has done missionary work. His income supports his family right now.
"I think that his desperate family circumstances... drove the actions here," he said.
Benjamin requested that Whalen serve six months based on the large amount of marijuana found – a total of almost 200 grams – but Hecker said he hoped four weekends would impress upon Whalen that he does not want to be in court as a defendant again.