PROSECUTOR SAYS MAN SUPPLIED KANSAS JAYHAWKS WITH MARIJUANA. By KC Star Staff
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KansasCity.com) – An Overland Park man recently charged in a large-scale marijuana distribution ring allegedly supplied a number of players on the 2010-2011 University of Kansas basketball team, a federal prosecutor says.
An assistant U.S. attorney made that assertion during a June 18 hearing to determine if Samuel Villeareal III should be detained pending trial. Villeareal, 32, was one of 25 defendants charged June 11 in U.S. District Court with conspiring over a four-year period to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of “high-grade” marijuana in Johnson and Douglas counties.
Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger told The Star he didn’t have knowledge of the case and would not comment. Kansas basketball coach Bill Self also declined to comment when reached by The Star, saying it was the first he had heard of Villeareal or the case.
In outlining Villeareal’s alleged role in the drug conspiracy, Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead told a federal magistrate that authorities seized $11,000 and an iPhone when they searched Villeareal’s house in May 2011. She described him as a supplier of marijuana to a number of individuals, “including a number of Kansas University basketball players from the 2010-2011 season.”
“We know that because of the text messages we obtained from the iPhone and also from surveillance that was done throughout this investigation of Mr. Villeareal,” Moorhead said, according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by The Star.
Morehead said the phone “became kind of a key component to this entire investigation.”
She also described what agents watching Villeareal observed.
“At one occasion law enforcement had Mr. Villeareal this basketball season at the Sprint Center sitting behind the KU basketball bench with a number of the players,” she said. “So we know that he had probably not only a personal relationship with them but a professional relationship as well.”
The Star attempted to contact all 16 members of the 2010-11 team and reached four players by phone Friday. Two, Jeff Withey and Royce Woolridge, said they didn’t know Villeareal.
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