Henry's trial for alleged cocaine deal moved to Montana
DENVER -- Former Denver Broncos running back Travis Henry appeared in court Monday, handcuffed and wearing yellow prison clothes for a hearing that stemmed from his arrest last week over an alleged cocaine deal.
A judge set bail for Henry at $400,000 and ordered the case moved to Montana, where authorities say they discovered a car with three kilograms of cocaine and six pounds of marijuana that was supplied by Henry and co-defendant James Mack.
The two men remain in federal custody on suspicion of knowingly and intentionally conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine. Mack's bail was set at $10,000.
The men were advised of the charges and will enter pleas in Montana. If convicted, each faces a minimum of 10 years in prison up to life, plus a $4 million fine.
A status hearing was scheduled for Wednesday morning. If released on bail, Henry will be electronically monitored, must submit to urinalysis, maintain or seek employment and have no contact with his co-defendant and witnesses.
Henry gave a quick nod to family members as he was escorted from the courtroom.
"What you have here is not just a case that involves cocaine and a former football player. What you have is a multistate cocaine distribution organization that needed to be dismantled," said Jeffrey Sweetin, a Special Agent in Charge of the Rocky Mountain Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Henry and Mack were arrested after the two met to buy cocaine from a person cooperating with authorities, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. The drug buy was arranged after a Montana state trooper and a DEA agent discovered the drugs in a car on Sept. 16, the affidavit said.
A passenger in the car, whose name was not revealed in the affidavit, told authorities that Henry and Mack supplied him with the drugs, which he was supposed to deliver.
The affidavit indicated that separately, the passenger and another customer in Billings, Mont., already owed Henry about $40,000 in drug proceeds. The passenger told authorities Henry had threatened him and his family over the debt.
The passenger agreed to assist authorities and set up a drug deal Sept. 30 with Henry and Mack at a private home, the affidavit said. After the two men left the residence, officers tried to place them under arrest and Henry began running, only to be caught after a short pursuit.
The 29-year-old Henry signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal with Denver before the 2007 season but later fell out of favor with coach Mike Shanahan over a perceived lack of commitment. Henry was released on June 2.
He led the league with 433 yards rushing after the first month of last season and finished with 691 yards and four touchdowns, but the season was marred by a left knee injury and a successful appeal of a one-year NFL suspension over a failed drug test.
Shanahan publicly backed Henry as he fought with the league, contending he was innocent. Still, the issue hung over the team much of the season and the Broncos finished 7-9.
"When a guy gets an opportunity, you're hoping that he is going to take advantage of it from a football side," Shanahan said Friday. "But for him to experience what he's experienced right now, I wouldn't wish that on anybody and it's really a shame."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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