By Melissa Pinion-Whitt and Mike Cruz, The Sun
Posted: 09/08/2011 02:46:04 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO — The search for a professor accused of leading a methamphetamine trafficking operation hit a snag this week when someone posted a bail bond on his behalf, enabling him to be free from being arrested.

Steve Kinzey, an associate professor of kinesiology at Cal State San Bernardino whom narcotics detectives have been trying to catch for months, didn’t appear in court, hasn’t surrendered and hasn’t even contacted authorities.

“It’s frustrating. He knows he’s wanted. He knows what’s going on. And as of this moment, we don’t even know if he’s in the state or not,” said sheriff’s Detective Jason Rosenbaum.

Rosenbaum said a bail hearing usually takes place before a criminal suspect is released from custody. In typical drug cases, the court also needs to determine if the funds being used to pay for bail were legitimately obtained.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, an unknown bondsman paid a bond to cover the $300,000 bail issued by the courts. The bond appeared in the court system Tuesday, sheriff’s officials said. A bond is a written agreement between a suspect and a bond company. Unlike bail, no money is given to the court.

The warrant issued for Kinzey’s arrest disappeared from the court computer system after his bond was settled, meaning law enforcement can’t arrest him.

It caught the Sheriff’s Department by surprise.

“Our detectives yesterday found out about it,” said sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller. “We had no knowledge that he was doing that.”

Kinzey, 43, of Highland, is scheduled to appear for arraignment Nov. 10 in San Bernardino Superior Court. But sheriff’s officials have been talking to district attorney’s officials to have his arrest warrant reinstated.

“At this point, we’re waiting to hear from the district attorney,” said Rosenbaum. “If, in fact, a warrant is reissued, then we’ll continue looking for him.”

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