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Monday, July 7
Blazers fine Stoudamire $250,000 after latest mishap

Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Damon Stoudamire, who was arrested on marijuana charges after allegedly trying to pass through an airport metal detector with almost 1½ ounces of the drug wrapped in aluminum foil, was suspended by the Portland Trail Blazers and fined $250,000.

Damon Stoudamire

Stoudamire was stopped at the Tucson airport Thursday as he prepared to board a flight to New Orleans, police said Monday.

He was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors. Police said he was carrying almost 40 grams of marijuana.

After Stoudamire set off the metal detector, he placed the drug and rolling papers into a plastic security bin, police said. Security officials then summoned police.

Stoudamire told officers that the drug was marijuana and that it was his.

Stoudamire was released on his own recognizance and is to appear in court July 25. He could face a sentence of up to $2,500 in fines and unsupervised probation on each charge. People facing similar charges to Stoudamire's usually pay around $200 in fines, said Rick Unklesbay, Pima County's chief criminal deputy county attorney.

Calls to Stoudamire's attorney, Steve Houze, were not returned.

Trail Blazers president Steve Patterson said Stoudamire would be suspended until there is a "satisfactory response to these matters."

Patterson also said the team is working with union representatives to get Stoudamire into a drug rehabilitation program.

Patterson said the arrest has again compromised an image the team is trying to rebuild after Stoudamire's and other players' previous drug and legal problems.

"Actions like this on Damon's part are contrary to that effort and cannot be tolerated," Patterson said. "We are committed to changing this behavior and changing the image of this franchise."

Patterson also said he would void Stoudamire's contract if he could, but hasn't found a provision in the contract that would allow him to do so.

Stoudamire has been arrested twice before on drug charges.

In November, Stoudamire and teammate Rasheed Wallace were passengers in a vehicle that was stopped for speeding on a highway outside Chehalis, Wash., after a game with Seattle. A search of the vehicle turned up a small amount of marijuana, police said.

Stoudamire agreed to attend drug and alcohol counseling and stay out of legal trouble for the next year to have misdemeanor charges against him dropped.

If convicted of the latest charges, Stoudamire would face a mandatory sentence of one day in jail because of that previous agreement. Andrew Toynbee, chief criminal deputy with the Lewis County, Wash., district attorney's office, said prosecutors might seek a longer sentence.

Earlier in 2002, Stoudamire was charged with a felony after police found a large bag of marijuana in his home while responding to a burglar alarm. A judge declared the search illegal.

Stoudamire was drafted from University of Arizona in 1995 by the Toronto Raptors, where he was Rookie of the Year in 1996. He was traded to the Trail Blazers in 1998.

Stoudamire is attending summer school at Arizona and working toward a degree in media arts, with a minor in sports broadcasting. He left the school two terms short of graduating in 1995.

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