A Kansas man at the center of a large-scale marijuana case allegedly supplied the drug to multiple players from the 2010-11 Kansas men's basketball team, a federal prosecutor said.
The Kansas City Star reported Friday (http://bit.ly/OKVO4p) that an assistant U.S. attorney made the claim during a June 18 detention hearing for Samuel Villeareal III.
The 32-year-old from Overland Park was among numerous defendants charged June 11 with a scheme to distribute more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana in Johnson and Douglas counties. His attorney, Jonathan A. Bortnick, said he had no comment.
A court transcript obtained by The Star shows the prosecutor, Terra Moorhead, claimed during the hearing that Villeareal supplied pot to multiple members of the Jayhawks' squad.
Jim Cross, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, said in an email to the AP that he could confirm that the federal prosecutor stated during a hearing ''that the defendant sold marijuana to members of the KU basketball team from the 2010 and 2011 season.'' Cross said he couldn't provide additional information and that Moorhead would be unavailable for comment.
The AP's attempts to reach Kansas coach Bill Self and associate athletic director Jim Marchioney were unsuccessful. Two players from the team contacted by The Star said they'd never heard of Villeareal, while two others refused to comment.
Morehead told a federal magistrate that prosecutors know who Villeareal was selling to because of text messages obtained from an iPhone seized from his home and from surveillance that was done throughout this investigation, The Star reported.
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.''