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Wednesday, October 23
 
Police find 7½ pounds of pot at Brooks' home

Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas coach Houston Nutt kicked defensive tackle Jermaine Brooks off the team Wednesday after city police arrested Brooks on charges he sold and possessed 10½ pounds of marijuana in his off-campus apartment.

Brooks was charged late Tuesday with felonies alleging drug possession, drug distribution and simultaneous possession of several rifles and handguns. Officers found $16,841 in Brooks' apartment and also arrested a woman who was there with him.

Police laid out cash, marijuana and a cache of weapons on a display table for reporters to view. Deputy prosecutor John Threet said that if convicted of simultaneous possession of drugs and a gun, Brooks could be punished by life in prison, though that would be rare in a marijuana case.

"He'll do a fraction of whatever he's given,'' Threet said. "It would not be a complete shock if he got 10 years out of the whole thing,'' and be eligible for parole in two years."

Brooks apologized to Arkansas fans in a telephone interview with Fort Smith TV station KPOM.

"Tell everyone I made a mistake, a big mistake,'' Brooks said. "I would like to tell all Razorback fans, Razorback teammates, family, friends and especially the coaching staff that I am truly sorry. I made the mistake and therefore I apologize to everyone for the decision that I made.''

Nutt said that, when the phone rang at his home at 1:34 a.m. Wednesday, it never occurred to him that it might be Brooks in trouble. Brooks, a team co-captain, earned his diploma in May in industrial technology and began this semester in graduate school.

"The first call, it was like "Tell me this is not true,''' Nutt said. "Jermaine responded that it was a terrible mistake. I can't believe it. I told him, 'You don't need money.'''

Nutt said he was disappointed in Brooks.

"This is hard for me because I love him like a son,'' Nutt said. "I don't think he realizes how disheartening this is to all of us. He doesn't know how many people he has really hurt, his mother, teammates, coaches.''

Because he was from California, so far from Fayetteville, Brooks spent more time at Nutt's home than any other Razorback. He also played with the coach's children and rode his horses.

At 10 p.m. Tuesday, Fayetteville police executed a search warrant at Brooks' apartment and seized 7½ pounds of marijuana, $16,841 in cash, several rifles and handguns and drug paraphernalia, including scales and plastic bags.

Brooks sold three pounds of marijuana at the apartment last week, a police report said.

Police Chief Rick Hoyt said the local drug task force office learned that "a large quantity'' of marijuana was being sold from Brooks' home.

Brooks, 22, of Pasadena, Calif., and Auburn Celeste Williams, 21, were arrested at the apartment, which is located on Leverett Street about six blocks northeast of Razorback Stadium. Williams has a Fayetteville address but a Missouri driver's license.

Williams, from Joplin, Mo., is a member of the Razorback Belles, a group of women students who serve as "official hostesses for the Razorback football program,'' according to the 2002 Arkansas football media guide.

Nutt said he talked to as many players on Wednesday as he could before a team meeting was held at 2:30 p.m.

"No one can believe it,'' Nutt said. "Raymond House is probably the closest player to him on the team and he was just in shock. He had no idea. Jermaine has walked across the stage, he's won games for us. He has talked to kids about not using drugs. That's why we can't believe it.''

House, the other co-captain on defense, also graduated in May. Nutt said players would not be available for comment on Wednesday. The mood at practice Wednesday was somber.

Former Razorback La'Zerius White, who finished his time on the offensive line last season, is friends with Brooks.

"He's a good dude, regardless of what happened,'' White said. "He's a really good guy and I respect him.''

Brooks started all six games for Arkansas this year and has 14 tackles. Last season, Brooks started seven of 11 games and had 56 tackles. Arkansas (3-3, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) plays Mississippi at Fayetteville on Saturday.

Brooks was charged with two counts of illegal delivery of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms and possession of drug paraphernalia, which are all felony charges. Williams was charged with possession with intent to deliver, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Except for the simultaneous possession charge that can carry of 10-to-40 years or life, Brooks could face sentences of 10 years in prison and fines of $10,000 on each count, Threet said.

Also, Threet said his office will begin civil forfeiture proceedings to seize the cash found in the apartment.

Brooks was taken to the Fayetteville City Jail following his arrest and he was transferred to Washington County Jail at 2 a.m. Brooks was released on $7,500 bond around 3 p.m. Wednesday. His arraignment was set for Nov. 18 in Washington County Circuit Court.

Nutt said Hoyt assured him that there was no connection to other Arkansas athletes. Police said the investigation is continuing.

Brooks is the third Arkansas football player to be arrested this year.

Defensive back Ken Hamlin pleaded guilty in July to second-offense driving while intoxicated and served nine days in jail.

Running back Cedric Cobbs was found guilty on July 11 of marijuana possession, driving while intoxicated and speeding, charges that stemmed from a Jan. 8 arrest. Cobbs was sentenced to 20 hours of community service, six months of probation and was fined $700.

Neither Hamlin or Cobbs missed any games, but they were required to meet conditions set forth by Nutt to remain on the team.





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