Chargers' Kiel guilty in drug case

Chargers' Kiel guilty in drug case
February 8th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Chargers' Kiel guilty in drug case

Chargers' Kiel guilty in drug case


Associated Press

SAN DIEGO - Chargers safety Terrence Kiel pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony and misdemeanor drug charges for shipping codeine-based cough syrup to Texas, part of a plea bargain that could allow him to avoid jail time.
One of six Chargers involved in eight run-ins with police since April, Kiel was ordered to do 100 hours of volunteer work, including talking to young people about the dangers of drugs, and undergo counseling for gambling.
If he does that before his Aug. 7 sentencing and doesn't break any laws, the felony conviction will be dismissed and he'll be placed on probation, said San Diego County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sontag.
"We're mindful of the fact that it looks like he's just getting a slap on the wrist because he's an athlete," Deputy District Attorney James Fontaine said after the settlement conference. "But we're expecting things from him. Ultimately, what happens is up to Mr. Kiel."
Kiel was in court, but didn't speak. He also didn't comment afterward.
"I think it was a fair resolution," said Kiel's attorney, Bob Grimes.
Kiel still has a Feb. 20 court appearance after being cited for urinating outside a nightclub Dec. 18 in downtown San Diego, several hours after the Chargers' home victory against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fontaine said he thought twice about the plea deal after he found out about the public urination citation.
"You bet it crossed my mind," Fontaine said. "When I got the news of that, I asked myself, `Is this a person who is spiraling out of control?' His attorney says no. He says that was an incident that showed poor judgment, but wasn't indicative of a larger problem."
Kiel was led off the practice field and arrested in the locker room by Drug Enforcement Administration agents on Sept. 26. The DEA said then that Kiel admitted to shipping at least two parcels of prescription cough syrup, apparently to be mixed with soft drinks to make a concoction known as "lean."
Kiel originally faced five counts. He pleaded guilty to felony transportation of a controlled substance - which will be dismissed if he follows the judge's orders - and to misdemeanor furnishing dangerous drugs without a license, a charge that was added Wednesday. The other four original charges were dropped.
If Kiel doesn't abide by the stipulations and is sentenced on the felony charge, he would have to register as a narcotics offender. He also could face jail time.
"I think the punishment fits the crime in this case," Grimes said. "What he did was illegal, but we have to keep in mind it was cough syrup with two-percent codeine. That's pretty low down the line for controlled substances."
Grimes said Kiel had significant gambling losses several years ago, but has sharply cut back on wagers recently. "Counseling to have him stop gambling is a really healthy deal," Grimes said.
Co-defendant Hope Devina Vines, a licensed pharmacy technician, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor grand theft and was sentenced to three years probation, including the completion of an anti-theft course.
Prosecutors theorize Kiel was getting the codeine-based cough syrup from Vines after she stole it from her employer.
The Chargers were an NFL-best 14-2 last season, but were embarrassed by off-field trouble.
"I'm totally aware of Terrence's personal legal situation and we think it's best that he address it, not us," general manager A.J. Smith said.
Kiel is under contract through 2008, with salaries of $545,000 each of the next two seasons.
Smith wouldn't say if Kiel's legal trouble will affect his standing with the team.
"I have no idea right now what the final answer will be," Smith said.

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