BRIDGMAN, Mich. – Detroit Lions second-year running back Mikel Leshoure is facing felony marijuana possession charges after a March 12 traffic stop outside of Benton Harbor. This is his second drug-related offense in less than a month, in southwest Michigan’s Berrien County.
Leshoure, a 2011 second round pick by the Lions out of the University of Illinois, missed his entire rookie season with a torn Achilles tendon. He was first arrested on Feb. 18, in Benton Township, while the March 12 arrest occurred in Baroda Lake Township.
He was the passenger in a rented 2012 Mitsubishi Endeavor SUV headed westbound on I-94 that was pulled over for an improper lane change. According to the police report, Baroda Township officers caught Leshoure “chewing marijuana” and saw marijuana spilled down the front of his shirt.
“He was cooperative,” Baroda Lake Police Chief Gary Ruhl said, “We told him to spit (the weed) out so he wouldn’t get sick, and he did.” Officers said that Leshoure initially admitted to smoking weed before the traffic stop, but tried to say that the substance in his mouth was not marijuana, but potpourri.
“My officer said, ‘Hey dude, if you eat that stuff, it’s going to make you sick,’” Ruhl said to MLive.com. “Leshoure said, ‘I thought when the police stopped you, that’s what you’re suppose to do.’ He’s been watching too many cop shows.”
Leshoure, who turned 22 on March 30, was born inside of Illinois’ Dwight Correctional Center, where his mother, Jacqueline Frasier-Jones, was serving a drug conviction. His father was also incarcerated for drug offenses. Leshoure also failed a drug test in 2009, at the University of Illinois.
“He’s a good running back,” Ruhl said. “He’s not good about staying out of trouble in Berrien County.”
He appeared in court on March 1 for the Feb. 18 traffic stop in Benton Township. In that case, he plead to a lesser charge of use of marijuana and paid a $485 fine. Leshoure was charged with possession of marijuana/second offense in the March 12 traffic stop, a felony punishable by up to two years in prison.
“We are aware of the reports,” the Lions said in a statement. “We are gathering more information and have no further comment at this time.” Neither Leshoure, nor his agent, have commented.
He was scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment on the second charge on Tuesday, but did not show up. Berrien County Prosecutor Arthur Cotter said that a bench warrant for his arrest could be issued and Leshoure could face contempt of court charges for his no-show. Lions’ officials said that Leshoure was at the team’s facilities in Allen Park and thought the arraignment had been rescheduled. It was not.
“I’m a Lions fan, but he’s going to be treated like anybody else,” Cotter said to MLive.com. He added that a warrant could be issued as soon as Thursday if he does not get the issue squared away. Additionally, Leshoure could face fines and possibly a suspension of up to six games from the NFL.
The Lions, coming off of their first playoff appearance in 12 years, were counting on Leshoure to be a major contributor to the team this coming season as a complement to the oft-injured Jahvid Best. Leshoure had been traveling to and from his home in Champagne, Ill. to rehab with the team and should be ready for training camp in July.
“It’s just pure stupid considering that police officers aren’t actively looking for marijuana arrests,” Ruhl said. “If you’re going to (smoke weed), do it in your house.”
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