Normally when a sports star gets arrested on drug charges, it's the athlete who has to answer the hard questions. But following yesterday's arrest of Miami Heat fan favorite Udonis Haslem, it's the Florida Highway Patrol that seems to have some explaining to do.
Haslem, who has played his entire NBA career with his hometown team, was pulled over on on the Gratigny Parkway between NW 42nd and 57th avenues after being clocked going 78 mph in a 60 mph zone -- a high but, let's be honest, not exactly outrageous speed. The officer smelled marijuana in the car and proceeded to search it.
Haslem was traveling in his 2008 Mercedes with a friend, Antwain Flemming. Police found a bag that contained documents with Flemming's name and some marijuana. According to the arrest report, which you can read on The305.com, Flemming admitted the bag and all the drugs in the car belonged to him. According to The 305, Haslem was kept on the scene for an hour and spent an additional three hours at FHP headquarters while officers searched his car three times and couldn't find anything.
Both men were arrested. Flemming was charged with possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana, which is a first-degree misdemeanor. However, Haslem was charged with possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, which is a far stiffer, third-degree felony.
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Haslem's charge comes with a maximum punishment of a $5,000 fine and five years in jail. He was not suspected of being high when arrested. But he was also ticketed for speeding and having car windows tinted too dark.
"Udonis Haslem should never have been arrested," Haslem's attorney Eric Tolin Schwartzreich said in a statement released to The 305. "The only reason Udonis Haslem was arrested was because he is a high-profile athlete."
Neither Haslem nor the Heat has commented on the situation, but it seems the FHP has some tough questions to answer, mainly: Why Haslem was arrested and charged with a third-degree felony when the arrest report seems to indicate he is not guilty?