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"Cheers" Star, Woody Harrelson, to Protest
Anti-Hemp Law, Arrested at Seed Planting

Movie star Woody Harrelson was arrested on June 1 in Beattyville, Kentucky for planting four hemp seeds, a misdemeanor, to protest the state law that makes no distinction between marijuana and industrial hemp. Harrelson, protesting in front of CNN cameras, said that farmers should be allowed to grow industrial hemp to make paper, fabric and other products. Harrelson was released after posting 10 percent of a $2,000 bond (Andy Mead, Knight-Ridder Newspapers, "Harrelson stages legal protest over hemp," Centre (PA) Daily Times, June 3, 1996).

11 Navy Hospital Corpsmen and 21 Navy Sailors
Face Drug Charges

A six month undercover investigation has led to drug charges against eleven Bethesda Naval Hospital workers. The charges involve the alleged use of marijuana, cocaine and LSD, and possession with intent to distribute ecstasy and LSD. "We're not talking a big drug ring here," said Commander Al Twyman, Bethesda Naval's chief spokesman. "We're talking guys who were using drugs." The corpsmen, who mostly work in direct care of patients, but do not administer medications, have been reassigned pending expected court-martials. If convicted, they could also face dismissal, jail sentences and heavy fines ("11 Navy corpsmen at hospital face drug charges," Chicago Tribune, June 2, 1996, p. 14).

In an unrelated case, on May 16 the first 14 of an eventual 21 arrests of sailors based in Naples, Italy were announced. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service infiltrated a drug ring in which Nigerian drug dealers allegedly recruited American sailors to smuggle cocaine and heroin into Italy from neighboring countries "because of the relative ease with which they are allowed to cross borders," the Navy said. "The motivation here was money, not intoxication," said an unidentified Navy official. Investigators seized 10 pounds of drugs and several thousand dollars in raids on the drug operation ("U.S. sailors held in drug case," New York Times, May 29,1996).

Dallas Cowboy's Star, Michael Irvin,
Guilty After Reindictment in Drug Case

On June 24, State District Judge Manny Alvarez ruled that Irvin must stand trial on drug possession charges, rejecting several motions to have evidence suppressed and to dismiss the indictment. An earlier indictment was thrown out because a member of the Dallas County grand jury that indicted Irvin was not a resident of Dallas County. All-Pro receiver Michael Irvin and two topless dancers face charges of possession of marijuana and cocaine stemming from a March 4 drug bust (Associated Press, "Judge rules that Irvin must stand trial," June 25, 1996).

Informant Dennis Pedini, who allegedly videotaped Irvin making drug purchases after the original indictment, was fined $500 and sentenced to 30 days in jail by Judge Alvarez on June 4 for violating a gag order in the case by being interviewed and providing hidden camera video of Irvin to "Hard Copy", the tabloid television show ("Informant in Irvin's drug case gets 30 days in jail," Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA), June 6, 1996).

In a bizarre twist in the case, Johnnie Hernandez, a police officer subpoenaed as a witness in Irvin's trial, was arrested and charged on June 27 with soliciting the murder of Michael Irvin. The arrest came one day after Hernandez, whose girlfriend was one of the women arrested with Irvin, paid several thousand dollars to DEA undercover officers to have Irvin killed (Todd Bensman, "Policeman held in attempted hit plot," Dallas Morning News, June 28, 1996, p. C1).

Irvin pleaded no contest to felony cocaine possession on July 15 and was found guilty and sentenced to four years' probation, fined $10,000 and ordered to perform 800 hours of community service. He was also suspended for five games in the upcoming NFL season by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue for violating the league's substance abuse policy. "You serve as a highly visible symbol of the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL," Tagliabue wrote Irvin. "While that visibility affords you substantial benefits, financial and otherwise, it significantly increases and magnifies the negative and detrimental impact of your misconduct on the league, its teams, its players and its fans (Richard Justice, "Cowboy's Irvin Draws Five-Game Suspension From NFL," Washington Post, July 25, 1996, p. D2)."

Drug Arrests of Public Figures

Tad Walgreen, 36, and son of Walgreen Company chief executive Charles Walgreen III, was arrested June 7 on charges of illegally obtaining prescription drugs from a Walgreen drugstore in the Chicago area ("Now a drug charge for Walgreen scion," Chicago Tribune, June 8, 1996, p. 5).

Former Boston Red Sox manager Butch Hobson, 44, was arrested on May 4 by DEA agents for receiving an overnight letter containing cocaine sent to him from Jerry Poe, a former high school teammate. DEA agents were tipped off by a secretary who spilled coffee on the letter and then opened it. Hobson was Red Sox manager from 1992 to 1994 (Rod Beaton, "Hobson takes leave, faces drug charges," USA Today, May 7, 1996, p. C1; Associated Press, "Spilled cup of coffee led to Hobson's arrest," Virginian-Pilot, May 23, 1996, p. C3).