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Former USC player detained for drug trafficking

According to the FBI, a former football player for the University of Southern California was detained at a golf course in San Diego on Sept. 10. The 33-year-old is one of the five people who are accused of being involved in a money laundering and drug trafficking ring in Australia.

Officials say that their investigation started when Australian police reportedly discovered former Sydney cage fighter Sean Carolan in possession of a black bag that contained $702,000 in August 2011. Andrew McManus, a prominent music promoter, allegedly told authorities that the money belonged to him from a Lenny Kravitz tour. The money was meant to repay the ex-USC footballer for providing the deposit for a ZZ Top tour, he explained.

The investigation continued after an Australian court denied a legal challenge that the money be returned. In 2014, detectives obtained search warrants for several Sydney suburban locations, where they reportedly found over $68,000 in bills, documents, drugs, electric equipment and steroids. The information that they uncovered allegedly suggested that 300 kilograms of cocaine was smuggled from Mexico, through the United States and into Australia.

Helping Australian detectives, FBI agents in San Diego obtained search warrants in relation to the investigation and reportedly seized cash, gold, marijuana and silver from the former college athlete. Charged with money laundering and drug trafficking, he pleaded not guilty in a San Diego federal court. New South Wales police want to extradite him to Sydney for additional charges.

When people are charged with a crime involving drug trafficking, they face harsh penalties if they are convicted. The charges and consequences may only be dropped if innocence or other mitigating circumstances can be shown by the defendant's criminal defense attorney. Otherwise, the attorney might seek to negotiate a plea bargain in exchange for less severe penalties.

Source: NBC 7 San Diego, "Ex-USC Player Accused in Australian Drug Trafficking Ring Arrested at Carlsbad Golf Course," Andie Adams, Sept. 11, 2015

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