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Stoudamire is arrested on marijuana charges Trail Blazer's foil wrapper sets off metal detector -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From Wire Reports Originally published July 8, 2003
Damon Stoudamire was arrested on marijuana charges after allegedly trying to pass through an airport metal detector with almost 1 1/2 ounces of the drug wrapped in aluminum foil. The Portland Trail Blazers guard was stopped at the Tucson, Ariz., airport Thursday as he prepared to board a flight to New Orleans, police said yesterday.
He was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors. Police said he was carrying almost 40 grams of marijuana.
After Stoudamire set off the metal detector, he placed the drug and rolling papers into a plastic security bin, police said. Security officials then summoned police. Stoudamire told officers that the drug was marijuana and that it was his.
He was released on his own recognizance and is to appear in court July 25.
Trail Blazers president Steve Patterson said Stoudamire would be suspended until there is a "satisfactory response to these matters."
For the third time in 18 months, Trail Blazers guard Damon Stoudamire has gotten caught up in marijuana possession charges, drawing a swift and forceful response from new team management that has put a premium on character.
Stoudamire was arrested Thursday at Tucson International Airport on an accusation of misdemeanor drug possession after he tried to pass through a security screening area with just less than 40 grams of marijuana and rolling papers, according to an arrest report released Monday by the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
Blazers President Steve Patterson on Monday made it clear that if he could void Stoudamire's huge contract, he would.
Instead, Patterson said the organization would fine Stoudamire $250,000 and suspend him from the team "until there is a satisfactory resolution to these matters."
The arrest marks the first character issue to arise since Patterson was hired June 18. His comments seemed to back up the shift in philosophy that started earlier this year when Paul Allen, the Blazers' owner, publicly said he was disappointed with the team's behavior and public image -- including fights among players, domestic abuse charges, drug arrests and player insubordination -- and all but declared he wasn't going to take it anymore.
"We're not going to tolerate this kind of behavior any longer," Patterson said. "We are committed to changing this behavior and changing the image of this franchise.
"In addition, we are in discussion with Damon's representatives and with the league to try and get Damon the help that he needs. Hopefully we'll be able to come to some conclusion in the very near future and then be able to move forward."
Patterson said there was no clause in Stoudamire's contract that would allow the Blazers to terminate it. He also said it was not financially feasible to consider releasing Stoudamire, who is scheduled to earn $24.875 million during the two seasons, because of the tax implications of such a move.
Asked whether he would consider trading Stoudamire, Patterson said, "Bring me an offer."
Detector set off Stoudamire was preparing to board a plane for New Orleans when he placed a plastic bag wrapped in aluminum foil and other personal belongings into a tray after they set off an airport metal detector.
Security officials summoned police, who asked Stoudamire what was in the aluminum foil. He responded: "You know what it is," the report states.
Stoudamire then told police that he had marijuana, that it was his and that he had been carrying it in his pocket, the report states.
He was released on his own recognizance, and he is scheduled to be in court July 25. He could face a maximum of $2,500 in fines and unsupervised probation.
Stoudamire, who has spent the summer taking classes toward a degree in media arts with a minor in sports broadcasting at Arizona, could not be reached Monday for comment. His lawyer, Stephen Houze, declined comment Monday on the charges or how his client intends to respond.
Aaron Goodwin, Stoudamire's agent, also declined comment, saying only that he hopes to "work toward what's in the best interest of Damon."
The league was aware of the incident, but it is policy not to comment on pending litigation, said Teri Washington, an NBA spokeswoman.
Enforcing sanctions Despite the hard line the Blazers took Monday, questions remain about whether under the league's collective-bargaining agreement, the organization can make the sanctions stick.
Patterson thinks it can.
"If the union thinks otherwise, then fine," Patterson said. "We'll go duke it out."
Patterson also explained why the team responded more harshly than it has in the past with similar incidents.
"We feel that in this instance, we have a pattern of conduct," he said. "This is not an isolated incident. There have been repeated problems over a very short period of time, and this conduct is detrimental to the image and detrimental to the franchise as a whole."
Last week's arrest is Stoudamire's third marijuana-related incident since early in 2002.
In February 2002, Lake Oswego police responding to a burglar alarm at Stoudamire's home found about a pound of marijuana in a crawl space. Stoudamire was indicted on charges of possession of 150 or more grams of marijuana and pleaded not guilty.
A judge later ruled that evidence obtained in the search was inadmissible because the police search of the home was unconstitutional without a warrant. Stoudamire was not home at the time of the search. The Clackamas County district attorney has appealed that ruling.
Traffic stop On Nov. 22, 2002, Stoudamire and Blazers forward Rasheed Wallace were cited on possession of less than two grams of marijuana after Stoudamire's sports utility vehicle was pulled over for speeding on Interstate 5 near Chehalis, Wash. The two were passengers in the vehicle, driven by Edward L. Smith of Tualatin, who also was cited. They were returning from Seattle, where the Blazers had played the Sonics the night before.
Officers found marijuana "residue" on the floor in the front and back of the car and a "couple of grams" of marijuana in the unlocked glove compartment.
In March, a Lewis County, Wash., judge signed an order giving Stoudamire a year of probation for that incident, in which Stoudamire maintained a not guilty plea but agreed to complete alcohol/drug rehabilitation school, and pay $150 in probation costs and $500 to the Lewis County Drug Fund.
If he stayed out of trouble for the year, prosecutors agreed to drop drug possession charges against him.
Too early to tell Lewis County prosecutors said Monday that his probation could be revoked because of the Arizona charges but that it's too early to know how to proceed.
"If it occurred, this is a violation of his probation," said Andrew Toynbee, Lewis County chief criminal deputy prosecutor.
"If he's convicted up here, which is what will likely happen if the court revokes his probation, then this charge has a mandatory minimum of a day in jail."
But Toynbee said because the amount of marijuana found in the Washington case was so small, it was unclear what they might recommend.
At the time Stoudamire was granted probation, he promised to stay out of trouble.
"I've been paying for it for a long time, and I'll probably continue to pay for it for a little bit," he said at the time. "I appreciate everything, and I'm going to do right by everybody." The Associated Press contributed to this story. Jim Beseda: