Two University of Utah Football players, another U. student and two Los Angeles men have been arrested following a three-month undercover drug investigation by the U. police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Officials say the operation culminated with the sale of a kilo of cocaine to federal agents.
Martel Black, Charles Patterson and Samuel Simmons, all U students, and Deandre Townsend and James Frank McCledon, both from Los Angeles, were booked into the Salt Lake County Jail.
Patterson, 18, was released Wednesday afternoon on a supervised release program. Black, 19, was released on bond, and the other three men were ordered released by a court.
The U.S. Attorney's Office is handling the case.
"It's not really a huge bust, but it's significant because these people are role models," said Steve Lough, resident agent in charge of Drug Enforcement Administration. "When they do things like this, it's unfortunate for everybody."
Lough said abother arrest is anticipated.
U. Police Chief Wayne Shepherd said undercover officers had purchased small portions of cocaine and marijuana eight to 10 times during the past three months.
"We'd been buying some grams for a time and then set up for the kilo," he said.
Black, a 6-2, 225-pound junior for San Diego, has been hailed as the most talented fullback ever to play at the U. Last season he led the team in rushing with 520 yards, despite missing part or all of several games due to suspension. Black was in trouble much of the year for being late to practive. He was ineligible to play his freshnem year because of the NCAA's Proposition 48 rulling.
A week before spring drills in May, Black announced he was leaving Utah and would transfer to another school. But several days later he asked to be reinstated. Coach Jim Fassel put him on "probationary" status and said reinstatement depended on his performance - both on and off the field - during camp this fall.
When reached at a vacation apartment in Southern California, Fassel expresed disappointmnent.
"If all I've heard is true, he (Black) is done at the University of Utah," Fassel said. "The temporary suspension is permament."
"I have to be cautious here, because we're assuming everything that I'm hearing happened is exactly true. Sometimes you get ahead of the law. But if it's true, he's done as a player at Utah.
Utah Athletic Director Chris Hill said although he will rely on information from the university police before any assesssments are made, he is doubtfut the football players will remain on the team or at the school.
"That type of offense is above university policy. It's a federal matter." he said. "Obviously if an athlete is involved in a federal offense, his involvement in university and athletics is a moot point."
Patterson, a 5-10, 180-pound redshirt freshman defensive back from San Diego , was a prep academic All-America at Lincoln High. He led Lincoln to two CIF championships.