Former NBA player Jose Ortiz was arrested earlier this week in Puerto Rico after federal agents seized 218 marijuana plants and 40 rounds of assault-rifle ammunition at his home.
He is being accused of possession with intent to distribute marijuana plants and is looking at a minimum of five years in prison, if found guilty. He will remain in an undisclosed institution until his next hearing July 26 and there is no evidence that a mugshot has been released.
This arrest is the result of a tip given to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which led to a raid of Ortiz’ Puerto Rican home after a monthlong investigation. When the agents entered the home on Wednesday, they found marijuana plants on the first floor, and arrested Ortiz, who was alone at the time.
The 6’10” center was reportedly cooperative and not aggressive when the arrest was made, and agreed to enter a drug rehabilitation program in court on Thursday.
It might go without saying, but this arrest comes as a big shock to the people of Puerto Rico. Ortiz was on their national team for more than 20 years and he represented Puerto Rico in four Olympic games. He even ran as a senatorial candidate for the opposition Popular Democratic Party back in 2008.
Henry Neumann, secretary for the Department of Recreation and Sports, and former president of the island’s National Superior Basketball League, had this to say about the incident:
“We are extremely pained by what happened… As a friend, in good times and in bad, we will be here for him…We’re talking about one of the three best players in the history of basketball in Puerto Rico…For many, throughout the years, [Ortiz] has been an idol, a person to be admired, to be followed… It is a very, very difficult psychological impact for (the children) to absorb.”
As mentioned above, Ortiz is expected to go back to court on July 26, but the investigation continues as the federal agents are now looking into “whether other people are involved and how the marijuana was sold and distributed.”
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