Jerome Simpson photo_Bengals Training Camp 2010.jpg

If you follow the NFL at all, it probably comes as no surprise that narcotics investigators recently tracked a 2.5 lb. package of marijuana from the so-called Emerald Triangle region of northern California to the northern Kentucky home of Cincinnati Bengal wide receiver Jerome Simpson.

Yesterday, a reader emailed me to ask questions about this most recent Bengals criminal investigation, and since they are questions I get a lot, it seemed like a good idea to post the answers here.

Q. I could kind of understand not arresting them for the 2.5 pounds they signed for (because you technically can’t prove that they knew what was in the package), but how did they not get busted for the other six pounds of weed that the cops found in the house?

A. Just because they weren’t taken into police custody doesn’t mean they weren’t “busted.” The way it works when you commit any crime is pretty much like this:

1) Officer witness crime, or has an arrest warrant

2) Depending on the type of crime, suspect is placed under arrest, or the officer issues a summons (requires suspect to answer to charges in court)

3) If there is an arrest, the suspect is usually taken into custody, fingerprinted, photographed, etc., and then they sit in holding until they post bail (some felonies and violent crimes require holding without bail until court holds a hearing)

4) After the suspect posts bail, they are released subject to their subsequent appearance(s) in court

In the case of a non-violent crime, where the suspect’s ID and whereabouts are not in question (e.g. as is the case with most public figures), there isn’t much purpose in taking the suspect into custody, because it’s unlikely that they will flee.

Q. But in Kentucky I thought people did 20 years for [getting caught with] a joint?

A. I’m not familiar with KY law, but I get what you’re saying.

Q. Where I live, pot is quasi-legal in small amounts, but I’m pretty sure even the dispensary employees and patients would go to jail for having 6 lbs. of it?

A. Who says these guys aren’t going to jail? We don’t know anything yet. The case remains an ongoing investigation.

Q. It’s curious that they found all that weed, plus scales, and other paraphernalia, but no cash—how can you move that much weed through one house and have no money on hand?

A. I didn’t see any reports as to whether or not investigators did find money at the house, but regardless, maybe they don’t sell it (unlikely, but not entirely impossible). Maybe they had cash on hand but it wasn’t an amount that was too unusual for professional athletes to possess. Maybe we’ll find out more after additional details of the investigation are released.

Q. Two other kind of puzzling things about this case are: Why would anyone consent to a search of their house when it’s full of weed? And why would you sell weed when you’re making NFL money?

A. It does sound stupid to consent to a search when you know you have contraband, but under the circumstances the officers may not have needed consent. Sometimes they ask for consent even when they don’t need it, which in my opinion happens for one of two reasons: (1) They are trying to come across as being polite, and respectful of the suspect’s civil rights; or (2) They don’t know the law, and are therefore unaware that the circumstances allow them to conduct a warrantless search.

Nonetheless, if the cops had a warrant for the 2.5 pound package, and they found that, they could continue searching for more contraband. Another possibility is that the homeowner believed that his stash was hidden well enough that the cops wouldn’t find it. Drug dealers often underestimate cops’ ability to track down drugs.

As to the second part of your question, I didn’t look up these players’ contracts, so I don’t know how much they make, but I do know that I never heard of them before today, and that the league minimum salary is $340,000. After the agent takes his 15%, and then taxes and child support, who knows what’s left—could be a somewhat modest amount.


Photo credit: Navin75