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Wizard Busted On Pot Charges

SEAT PLEASANT, Md. -- In too much of a hurry to get to practice, Chris Webber was pulled over in a routine traffic stop for speeding.

What happened afterward was anything but routine.

Before it was all over Webber ended up with a face full of pepper spray, spent six hours in jail and was charged with marijuana possision.

The Washington Wizards forward was arrested Tuesday and charged with assault, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, driving under the influence of marijuana and five other traffic-related violations.

All the charges are misdemeanors, and Webber will probably be tried before a District Court judge sometime this spring. Webber was released on his recognizance.

"We look forward to having the matter tried," said Webber's lawyer, Bruce Marcus. Webber avoided reporters by sitting in the back seat of his black, dark-windowed 1998 Lincoln Navigator as it departed from a rear exit of the Prince George's County District III police station.

Webber, 24, was driving the Navigator, a sports utility vehicle, when he was stopped about 9:30 a.m. in Landover, Md., on the way to a 10 a.m. Wizards practice at the MCI Center in downtown Washington.

According to the police report, Webber did not have a license or registration, and offered his credit card as proof of identification. The report said Webber was "slow to answer" questions, and struck the hand of the policeman when the officer went to open the car door.

"The officer attempted to remove him," Prince George's police spokesman Royce Holloway said. "He resisted, an assault occurred. The (pepper) spray was deployed to the effect the arrest."

Webber was handcuffed and taken to the police station. The car was impounded and searched, and officers found the stub of a marijuana cigarette and ashes in the front center ash tray. There also were also traces of marijuana leaves, ashes, stems and seeds on the rear floor board on the driver's side.

Wizards general manager Wes Unseld said: "Until we have an opportunity to speak with Chris and the authorities involved in the incident, we will have no other comments."

Webber is the latest Wizards player to have a brush with the law.

In November 1996, Juwan Howard was charged with drunken driving in the District of Columbia when his Mercedes was stopped for speeding on a Washington street. The charges were dropped after Howard agreed to enter an alcohol rehabilitation and education program.

In September 1997, Rod Strickland was charged in Washington with drunken driving and disorderly conduct. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 24.

Webber scored 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Wizards on Satuday in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers. He has scored 20 or more points in 12 straight games.

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