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CALIFORNIA DRUG DEALER GUILTY OF MISSING UTAH HEARING

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A Utah federal court jury Friday found a convicted drug dealer from Southern California guilty on charges of failure to appear for a court-ordered hearing.

Following two hours of deliberations, the jurors convicted Samuel Simmons, 19, Compton, Calif., on the charge related to his walking away from a federal halfway house while awaiting sentencing on his guilty plea to drug charges.While he was staying in the halfway house, the former University of Utah student testified Thursday he left the facility Jan. 22 because he wanted "a week of vacation" before he began serving his anticipated minimum 6-year sentence on the drug charges.

Simmons and two Utah football players - fullback Martel Black and wide receiver Darren Hughes - were arrested in a 1988 cocaine bust at Black's Salt Lake apartment.

Black was kicked off the Ute team and sentenced to six years in a federal prison. Hughes was suspended from the football squad for at least one year and placed on three years probation by the court.

Simmons pleaded guilty to one count of distributing cocaine to a person under the age of 21 and a second charge of possession of the drug with intent to distribute.

On his conviction Friday, Simmons could be sentenced to up to an additional five years in prison. Any sentence on the failure to appear conviction must run consecutively to his drug sentence, prosecutors said.