Federal prosecutors in West Virginia said they intend to use the flight of a fugitive as evidence of his guilt at his trial provided U.S. marshals can track him down.
John Skruck, 57, a Texas strip-club owner, was scheduled for trial in Clarksburg, W.Va., on Tuesday, where he stands accused of more than two dozen charges in connection with the sale of synthetic hallucinogens commonly called "bath salts" from two West Virginia head shops.
The case is one of the largest such prosecutions in the U.S.
He'd been living in Michigan and was given permission to travel over the weekend to Ohio to see relatives, but he didn't come back.
The marshals have launched a nationwide manhunt.
The U.S. attorney's office in Wheeling has filed notice that prosecutors will use the fact that he ran to show "consciousness of guilt."
Mr. Skruck already faced 10 years in prison and could now receive more if convicted.
Three others charged with him have pleaded and agreed to cooperate.
Torsten Ove: email@example.com or 412-263-1510.