Drug charges dismissed against three NCSU football players
Posted July 27, 2010
Updated July 28, 2010
Raleigh, N.C. — A judge on Tuesday dismissed drug charges against three North Carolina State University football players, ruling that police searched their apartment illegally.
Senior offensive tackle Jake Vermiglio, junior defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, junior tight end George Bryan and junior defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy were charged April 24 with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Vermiglio, Kuhn and Sweezy faced a judge Tuesday. A hearing on Bryan’s charges was postponed to a later date.
Defense attorneys argued Raleigh police officers illegally entered the players' apartment at College Inn on Western Boulevard. Police were called because a community adviser in the dorm smelled marijuana. A Raleigh police officer working off-duty at the apartment complex searched the apartment, according to the search warrant in the case
District Judge Keith Gregory ruled the officer’s entry into the apartment was not lawful.
“There was nothing to indicate tenants were aware of law enforcement,” Gregory said, adding that police should have obtained a warrant to enter the residence.
Raleigh police said officers did obtain a search warrant, but it wasn't until after they had entered the apartment.
"There are constitutional safeguards to all citizens of North Carolina. They certainly apply to these young men as well. And for that, Judge Gregory made the decision that the evidence was not admissible in this case," defense attorney James Jackson said.
N.C. State football coach Tom O'Brien had no comment Tuesday on the charges being dismissed, but he referenced the case during an ACC press conference Monday.
"I said when it first happened that appropriate action would be taken. It has been," O'Brien said, "We're moving on."
N.C. State confirmed that all four players remain on the football team.
"Obviously, a lot of time and worry has been devoted to this. Yet, at the same time, it's been a valuable learning experience," defense attorney Trey Fitzhugh said.
Vermiglio and Bryan are listed as starters at their positions on the Wolfpack spring depth chart. Bryan was named to the All-ACC first team as a tight end for the 2009 season.