Five-time champ Tapia to remain in rehab after testing positive for drugs

8/15/2007 - Boxing

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Five-time world champion boxer Johnny Tapia
has been ordered to remain at a rehabilitation center after testing
positive for drugs, a violation of the conditions of his release.

State District Judge Kenneth Martinez ruled Tuesday that Tapia,
40, should remain at the Second Chance treatment program for the
time being since sending the boxer to the Bernalillo County
Metropolitan Detention Center would not be an option because of his
celebrity and the availability of drugs at the lockup.

Martinez had agreed Friday to allow Tapia to leave Second Chance
because of unspecified medical reasons and enroll in a community
custody program that would have involved random drug tests and an
ankle monitor.

Prosecutors asked the judge to reconsider after learning that
Tapia tested positive for cocaine while awaiting his release from
Second Chance.

Prosecutor Mark Drebing said it's likely that Tapia won't stay
at Second Chance because his doctors have said health conditions
prevent him from taking daily saunas and B vitamin pills, which
Drebing called integral parts of the program.

Another hearing for Tapia is scheduled for Aug. 24.

Tapia has been at the Second Chance treatment center since he
pleaded guilty in May to a felony drug possession charge.

Tapia had negotiated a plea agreement a day before his drug
possession case was to go before a grand jury. He was required to
enter an inpatient treatment program during an 18-month probation
but he wasted no time and admitted himself on the day of his plea
into Second Chance.

Tapia had been taken to an Albuquerque hospital March 12 after
paramedics responded to his hotel room following a call from his
wife and manager, Teresa Tapia, who reported he wasn't breathing.

Police have said they found three baggies of cocaine in the
hotel room.

Tapia has a history of cocaine use and run-ins with the law. He
was suspended from boxing from October 1990 to March 1994 after
testing positive for cocaine.

Teresa Tapia said she was happy with Tuesday's ruling.

"I don't know what it's going to take to get this guy to do
what needs to be done," she said of Tapia. "But what I am happy
for ... is the court system, they're not just kicking him to the
curb and saying 'Go to prison. I don't want to deal with you. Get
out of my face.' They're all trying to find a solution and that
makes you have faith in our justice system."