3 ex-UND football players arrested on drug chargesGRAND FORKS — Three former University of North Dakota football players were arrested on drug charges, including one for possession of steroids, following a search warrant executed at their Grand Forks house Thursday morning.
By: Chris Bieri, Forum Communications Co.
GRAND FORKS — Three former University of North Dakota football players were arrested on drug charges, including one for possession of steroids, following a search warrant executed at their Grand Forks house Thursday morning.
Linebacker Mitchell Jon Goertz, safety Justin Anthony Belotti and cornerback Kenneth Ray Watkins Jr. were all seniors who made major contributions to UND’s defense this season.
Belotti was charged with possession of anabolic steroids and possession of Adderall.
Goertz was charged with possession of Adderall, possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana and possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
Charges have not yet been filed against Watkins, but a court affidavit said police found marijuana and paraphernalia in his room.
“We are aware of the situation and the ongoing investigation,” said UND Athletics Director Brian Faison in a statement issued through a spokesman. “We are extremely disappointed and we are cooperating with authorities. There will be no further comment at this time.”
Richard Zachary McConn, who lives in the same house at 531 Cambridge St., was charged with possession of anabolic steroids, possession of Adderall, possession of marijuana paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.
Possession of anabolic steroids and Adderall, a prescription drug, are the most serious of the various charges, both being Class C felonies.
Belotti, McConn and Watkins had all posted bail at press time. Goertz had not.
The three former football players were key members of the team, and one won a national service award.
Goertz, from Weston, Wis., and Belotti, from Kenosha, Wis., started all 11 games this season and were, respectively, the team’s second- and third-leading tacklers with 43 and 35 tackles.
Watkins, from Plano, Texas, started 10 games in the defensive backfield and finished the season with 28 tackles.
In September, Belotti was named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, a prestigious national college football award given to student athletes for outstanding volunteerism and community service.
Both UND and the NCAA have drug testing policies.
UND Senior Associate Athletic Director Daniella Irle said the NCAA testing is random and unannounced, and includes mandated tests at championships. A positive test for an athlete from the NCAA would be punished by suspension for one calendar year.
Irle said the university’s program focuses on assessment, education and counseling.
The policy has different protocols that determine how each positive test is handled and UND has the latitude to issue both announced and unannounced tests.
After a third positive test, Irle said, an athlete would be removed from the program, but counseling would continue.
She said she wasn’t aware of a UND athlete testing positive to an NCAA-issued test since the school became a Division I program in 2008.
According to police records, officers found Adderall and anabolic steroids in Belotti’s room, though how much was not listed.
In Goertz’s room, they found three half tablets of Adderall, less than a half ounce of marijuana and a glass pipe.
In Watkins’ room, they found a marijuana grinder, a glass pipe with marijuana residue, a glass water pipe and a baggie with less than a half ounce of marijuana.
McConn, originally from McLean, Va., had a glass pipe with residue, a marijuana grinder, a multi-colored glass pipe, a jar containing less than a half ounce of marijuana, numerous bottles of steroids and one capsule of Adderall confiscated from his room.
UND Police Chief Duane Czapiewski said it is rare to see steroids in drug arrests. “We’re seeing a lot of prescription medications,” he said. “We’ve seen little steroids, but it’s not a surprise that it’s out there.”
Possession of anabolic steroids and possession of Adderall are both Class C felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Possession of marijuana paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment and a $2,000 fine.
Possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Czapiewski said the warrant was obtained by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
UND police have been to the residence before for loud parties, he said, but not for any other violations or complaints.
McConn has prior marijuana possession and marijuana paraphernalia possession convictions from 2010.
Watkins also pleaded guilty to possession marijuana paraphernalia in 2010.
Bieri is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.