Horns' Taylor charged with felony drug possession

Updated: May 15, 2006, 12:44 AM ET
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas running back Ramonce Taylor, who scored a touchdown in the Longhorns' Rose Bowl win over Southern California, was arrested early Sunday by Bell County sheriff's deputies who said they found marijuana in a backpack in his car.

Ramonce Taylor
Taylor

According to a news release from Sheriff Dan Smith, deputies also found a live 40-caliber round of ammunition in the console of the vehicle.

Taylor's attorney, Buck Harris of Killeen, said the marijuana was not Taylor's, The Dallas Morning News reported in its online edition Sunday night.

The sheriff first reported that deputies who were responding to calls about a fight involving as many as 100 people found more than five pounds of marijuana in Taylor's backpack, which would be a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in jail and $10,000 in fines.

But Bell County prosecutors instead charged Taylor with state jail felony drug posession of marijuana, pending lab results to determine the total weight of the drug, Smith's office said.

If it weighs more than five pounds, the charge will be upgraded.

A state jail felony carries up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

"More information will be forthcoming about whom the marijuana belonged to, but it didn't belong to Ramonce," Harris said.

A telephone message left by The Associated Press for Harris was not immediately returned. Telephone messages left at the home of Taylor's mother in Temple were not returned Sunday night.

Taylor, 20, remained in the Bell County Jail and would be arraigned Monday.

According to the sheriff, deputies received a report at 1:34 a.m. about a large fight at a pecan farm in Little River, a community about 40 miles north of Austin.

Deputies also received a call from someone who said they had been at the fight and complained a window on his vehicle had been broken. That caller turned out to be Taylor.

While interviewing Taylor at a convenience store, deputies were told by other officers at the fight scene that Taylor had been involved and had threatened to return with a gun. Taylor was placed in handcuffs.

Taylor told deputies he didn't have a gun and gave them permission to search his vehicle. Deputies reported finding the bullet and the backpack with the marijuana. Deputies said the backpack belonged to Taylor.

Taylor was arrested and his vehicle impounded. Two other individuals with him, who were not named in the report, were released at the scene.

Harris told the newspaper that three other people were in the vehicle with Taylor.

One of Texas' most versatile players, Taylor scored 15 touchdowns last season, including a 30-yard scoring run in the Rose Bowl, which Texas won 41-38. The win gave Texas its first outright national championship since 1969.

Taylor had been excused from spring practice in March to focus on academics and had not participated in any team functions since then, Longhorns coach Mack Brown said in a statement released by the school.

"We are aware of this recent situation and will follow it as the legal system runs its course. At this time, we will not consider reinstating him to the team," Brown said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press