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Police: Tuinei Ingested Drugs

Former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Mark Tuinei died accidentally of a combination of heroin and a stimulant, according to a report Tuesday from the Collin County medical examiner.

Plano police chief Bruce Glasscock said he believed Tuinei had never used heroin before.

"Here was an individual who used heroin one time, and he ended up dead as a result of that," Glasscock said at a press conference.

The 39-year-old died Thursday morning. According to a police affidavit, Cowboys running back Nicky Sualua said Tuinei spent the previous evening procuring heroin and passed out after taking the drug at a North Dallas apartment.

Glasscock said there have been no arrests in connection with Tuinei's death, adding that the arrests of three people outside the apartment where Sualua said Tuinei took the heroin were unrelated to the case.

He declined to say whether Sualua was in legal jeopardy, saying the case would be turned over a North Texas task force of the U.S. Attorney's office.

The affidavit that described Tuinei's last night was filed so police could convince a Collin County judge to issue a warrant for officers to search the ex-player's Plano home. Glasscock said police found a marijuana pipe, a marijuana cigarette and a tablet that appeared to be Ecstasy, a mood-enhancing stimulant.

Glasscock said the police investigation determined that Tuinei had been using Ecstasy heavily for the last two weeks. The coroner's report found traces of methylenedioxyamphetamine, similar to Ecstasy, in his bloodstreatm.

Glasscock said the investigation did not indicate that any other members of the Cowboys were with Tuinei his last night. He also said Sualua, to his knowledge, was never tested for drugs, although police spent several hours with him after Tuinei died.

"It's totally a shock to me," former safety and current assistant coach Bill Bates said about Tuinei's heroin use, "and it's something that is not going to take away from the love I had for him and the times that we had together."

Former Cowboys defensive back Everson Walls said the heroin involvement by a player who had been perceived as clean-cut during his playing days is another black mark for a team that has endured several drug-related suspensions in recent years.

"I think the Cowboys just really have to learn that throughout their organization they have always had problems," Walls said. "But at the same time, the Cowboys have done a lot of good things within the organization.

"It's just another bad mark on the record."

A funeral for Tuinei is scheduled for Thursday in Hawaii. His widow, Pono, was in Hawaii at the time of his death. She traveled briefly to the Dallas area for a memorial service Saturday but has since returned to Hawaii, according to her lawyer.

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