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Horns' Taylor charged with felony drug possession

5/15/2006 - Texas Longhorns

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.

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.