Agents track pot shipment to home of Bengals’ player

Published 1:20 am Friday, September 23, 2011

The Associated Press

CINCINNATI — For authorities tracking a marijuana shipment from California, the trail ended unexpectedly at the home of a Cincinnati Bengals player in suburban northern Kentucky where police say they found more drugs.

No arrests have been made. Police were still investigating the case Thursday that has entangled Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson, a North Carolina native in his fourth NFL season. A package containing 2 1/2 pounds of marijuana was tracked to Simpson’s home.

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The case is being investigated by police at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, along with local authorities.

A Bengals spokesman said the club was aware of the reports but had no comment. Calls to Simpson’s agent went unreturned. Simpson was excused from practice on Thursday to deal with the matter. It was unclear whether he would be available for a game Sunday against San Francisco at Paul Brown Stadium.

Simpson was at his home along with girlfriend and teammate Anthony Collins on Tuesday when the woman accepted the package, said Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman with the California Department of Justice.

Collins’ agent didn’t return a call seeking comment. Collins practiced on Thursday but didn’t make himself available to reporters for comment. Coach Marvin Lewis said Collins wasn’t a focus of the investigation, though he declined further comment.

The package originated in Eureka, Calif., part of the so-called Emerald Triangle, the state’s vaunted pot-growing region, and was discovered by a drug-sniffing dog in Sacramento, Gregory said. The address label bore the name of Jason Snider, but Gregory said it’s not unusual for people to use false names when sending illegal drugs through the mail.

A search of Simpson’s home also turned up 6 more pounds of marijuana, smoking pipes and scales, authorities said.

“We don’t believe it (the package) was for personal use,” Gregory said. “We believe there’s some sort of distribution or sales out of his home.”

The Bengals had 10 players arrested during a 10-month span from April 2006 to June 2007. Receiver Chris Henry was the biggest repeat offender, one of the factors in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell cracking down on player misconduct.

The Bengals created a stir when they decided to bring Henry back after his fifth arrest. He later died in a fall from his fiancee’s truck.

Two players got arrested last summer, putting the Bengals back in the spotlight.

Last July, cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was arrested in downtown Cincinnati and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in November. Jones is currently on an injury list as he recovers from offseason neck surgery.

Running back Cedric Benson spent five days in a Texas jail before the start of the season, completing his sentence for two misdemeanor assault cases.

Law enforcement agents are trying to determine who sent the package to Simpson’s home. There was no return label.

Gregory said if Kentucky authorities do not charge Simpson or others, California may consider that possibility.