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Webber Denies Marijuana Bust


Chris Webber "vehemently denies" he was caught in possession of marijuana or paid a fine for the offense, his agent said Sunday.

Customs Service officials on Saturday reported that Webber admitted to owning a bag containing 11 grams of marijuana that was sniffed out by a customs dog during a routine inspection of the transit lounge at San Juan's international airport on Friday.

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  • A statement from customs officials said Webber paid a $500 administrative fine and was allowed to continue his journey from the Dominican Republic to Barbados on a tour sponsored by the sporting good company Fila.

    Webber's agent, Fallasha Erwin, said there had been a mixup about who owned the bag.

    "A traveling companion claimed ownership of the luggage and paid the administrative penalty of $500. However, for unknown reasons, officials listed Chris Webber as the owner of the bag, not the traveling companion," Erwin said in a telephone call from his Detroit office.

    Erwin said the bag contained high-heeled shoes and other items belonging to Webber's female companion.

    "Chris Webber did not sign a document stating he possessed a small amount of marijuana ... Mr. Webber vehemently denies he had possession of marijuana. Chris Webber did not pay an administrative penalty of $500," Erwin said.

    The Customs Service stuck by its original statement.

    "We reiterate what we said," spokeswoman Awilda Pereira said Sunday. "I cannot go into details, but what we released yesterday was the truth and we will back it up."

    On Saturday, a customs statement said that the bag with the marijuana had mistakenly been tagged as belonging to Jerry Stackhouse of the Detroit Pistons.

    "Customs agents initially questioned Mr. Stackhouse, who denied ownership of the bag. Further inquiry determined that the bag had been mismarked nd, ultimately, Webber came forward and claimed ownership," it said.

    Neither Webber nor Stackhouse could be reached for comment Sunday.

    The customs statement had said that because of the small "personal-use" amount of marijuana involved, Webber was not cited for smuggling and would not be prosecuted for possession.

    It was the latest in a series of legal problems for Webber, who was traded in May from the Washington Wizards to the Sacramento Kings.

    Webber is awaiting trial for a January arrest that stemmed from a traffic stop on his way to practice with the Wizards in Maryland. He faces charges of marijuana possession, second-degree assault and resisting arrest.

    In May, a grand jury declined to prosecute Webber in a complaint filed by a woman who said she was sexually assaulted at a party in Maryland in April. Webber's lawyer said he left the party before the attack is said to have happened.

    The NBA and its players are in the midst of a lockout, and contact between players and teams is prohibited.

    "Due to the lockout, the team has to decline all comments," Kings spokesman Troy Hanson said.

    Only heroin and cocaine are covered in the drug agreement between the NBA and the union. Union director Billy Hunter said last week the sides were near an accord that would add marijuana to the list of banned substances.

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