Drug charges for CSU players?

Fort Collins police and prosecutors won’t discuss whether they’re considering drug-possession charges against CSU football players they say allegedly had suspected anabolic steroids and marijuana.

Police investigating an April fight between three Colorado State University football players and a CSU freshman searched the players’ homes for bloody clothing and other evidence. According to police, they found bloody clothing – and more.

“In the room on the far south of the basement, I observed there was a sign posted to the door with the name Orakpo on it,” Det. Bryan Vogel wrote in his report about searching the home shared by players Mike Orakpo and Nordly Capi.

Inside the room, according to the report, “I opened the refrigerator knowing that prescription medicine is often a very good indicator of the person who occupies and controls the area, room or residence. In the refrigerator was moldy food, dog feces along the bottom of the door and a blue unlabeled box of similar clear bottles sitting alone in the center area of the glass shelf. As the box and bottles were unlabeled and in conjunction with the syringes and alcohol wipes, I suspected they were related to unlawful drug use.”

Police seized the items as evidence and listed the vials in their report as possible steroids.

Orakpo’s attorney, Erik Fischer, told the Coloradoan this weekend Orakpo “categorically” denies the suspected drugs were his. Fischer said the officers’ report was wrong about where the items were found.

Officers who searched another player’s home found packages marked as containing anabolic steroids, along with suspected marijuana and a bong.

“When I opened a duffel bag located on the right side of the bed … I discovered numerous hypodermic needles in plastic bags. Some of the needles were marked with a prescription made out to Colton Paulhus. There were also foil packages that indicted the contents were anabolic steroids,” Sgt. Don Whitson wrote in his report. “I spoke to Colton about the needles and the steroids. He said he has a medical condition where he does not produce adequate levels of testosterone. He indicated he has a prescription somewhere, but was unable to produce it at that time.”

Whitson said he documented the needles and drugs but didn’t confiscate them. Police have declined to say whether Paulhus ever produced that prescription.

The three football players – Orakpo, Paulhus and Capi – have been indefinitely suspended from the team following the April 6 fight with freshman Donny Gocha. All four students have been cited for misdemeanor disorderly conduct and are due in court May 30.

A spokeswoman for Fort Collins police referred all questions about the case Wednesday to the district attorney’s office. Citing professional conduct rules, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Larry Abrahamson said the office would not comment on the investigation.

Troy Krenning, a former Fort Collins police officer who is now a defense attorney, said police likely would have used what’s called a “presumptive” test to check the suspected steroids and marijuana. He said presumptive tests can be used to establish probable cause and make an arrest but that final testing would be done by a state laboratory shortly before any trial took place.

Krenning said police might use the discovery of the suspected drugs to bring pressure on the players to accept plea bargains. He said police and prosecutors have a wide range of discretion to bring charges or let things slide. He said, in this case, it’s possible the disorderly conduct charges would become the “sideshow” to much more serious potential felony drug charges.

“It’s routinely used to bring additional pressure,” he said of possible drug charges. “It’s used as a tactic, some would argue a heavy-handed tactic, to coerce a plea bargain. But like they say, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

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