Still no sentence for Long Beach drug-dealer: Merrill saunas while lawyers stall

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    Chinook Observer
    Still no sentence for Long Beach drug-dealer: Merrill saunas while lawyers stall
    By NATALIE ST. JOHN Jan 15, 2019


    SOUTH BEND — Last June, County Prosecutor Mark McClain got a call from a company that monitors court-ordered tracking devices. Robert “Tony” Merrill, addict, dealer, former Long Beach Go-Karts owner and one-time fugitive Cabo San Lucas resident, appeared to be barrelling down a highway in the California desert in a car he wasn’t supposed to have.
    At first, authorities thought he’d fled from the Scientology-affiliated rehab where he was receiving treatment and made a second run for the border. Police pursued him — to the lobby of another Scientology-run rehab.

    more snippets:
    Scientology rehab
    Shortly after his return to Washington, the court set Merrill’s new bail at $800,000. Robert and Eldora Merrill posted bail again. This time though, Merrill was ordered to wear a GPS anklet that would alert authorities if he left his parents’ home in Vancouver.
    In April 2018, he pleaded guilty to 10 felony charges, including drug delivery, operating a drug house, trafficking in stolen property, burglary and unlawful firearm possession. However, prosecutors agreed he could enter rehab while awaiting sentencing. His parents chose Fresh Start, a Warner Springs, California outpost of the Church of Scientology’s Narconon drug rehabilitation program, which has repeatedly come under fire for allegedly endangering patients with medically unsound practices and pressuring them to join the controversial religion.

    When Merrill appeared to be “escaping” last summer, it turned out Narconon was transporting him between facilities. No one had notified the court or GPS company. He was briefly arrested, then released back to the program.
    Merrill is reportedly still sweating it out in the desert.