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

Updated: August 15, 2007, 8:55 AM ET
Associated Press

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."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press