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UT Sports - Longhorns

Longhorns safety arrested for drug possession

Gatewood faces two misdemeanor charges; another player cited

10:28 PM CDT on Thursday, September 13, 2007

By CHIP BROWN / The Dallas Morning News
chipbrown@dallasnews.com

AUSTIN – Texas senior safety Tyrell Gatewood has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of drug possession, and freshman defensive back Ben Wells has been ticketed for possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the Travis County sheriff's office.

Texas coach Mack Brown has suspended Gatewood from the team indefinitely.

"We're aware of the recent situation with Tyrell Gatewood," Brown said in a statement. "We've talked to Tyrell and his family and decided to suspend him indefinitely, pending the completion of the legal process. ... He will not be involved in any team functions at this time."

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Brown made no mention of Wells in his statement.

Gatewood, 22, and Wells, 18, were pulled over shortly after midnight Thursday while driving in east Austin for failing to properly signal a turn, according to arrest records.

The arrest affidavit shows Gatewood signaled a left turn only after he had come to a stop at the intersection for a few seconds, failing to signal 100 feet prior to turning.

The sheriff's deputy involved in the case smelled marijuana. During a search of the car, the deputy found marijuana, Xanax and a baby bottle full of cough syrup containing codeine, records show.

Wells, a passenger in the car, was issued a citation for drug paraphernalia and released.

Gatewood was booked into Travis County Jail at 12:36 a.m. and charged with two counts of misdemeanor possession of a dangerous drug. Gatewood's bond was set at $5,000 - $2,500 for each count. Gatewood also had bond set for $500 on a reckless driving arrest warrant outstanding from March in Dallas County.

Gatewood's attorney, Jamie Balagia, accused authorities of racial profiling.

"For people who are black or Mexican driving in east Austin, that's what the police do," Balagia said. "They pull you over for failing to signal 100 feet before you turn. When you drive east of I-35 that's what you have to deal with.

"It was racial profiling. Tyrell's been stopped a half a dozen times since his last incident. They've got his license plate. We have some concerns, but we don't have any hard evidence. It's disappointing this happened."

Tyrell Gatewood

This is Gatewood's second arrest in a little more than a year. Gatewood was suspended for Texas' game against Ohio State last September after he was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession.

That charge stemmed from being in the same car with former UT linebacker Aaron Harris and former UT cornerback Tarell Brown, when police pulled Harris over for swerving and found a marijuana cigarette.

Those drug charges were dropped against Gatewood and Brown after both passed a drug test and Harris took responsibility for the marijuana.

Gatewood (6-2, 210), from Tyler Chapel Hill, has played receiver, linebacker and safety at Texas and has performed mostly on special teams. Wells (6-1, 191), who graduated early from high school to enroll in January at Texas, was a prep All-American and all-state selection at Beaumont Ozone.

TEXAS TROUBLES

Tyrell Gatewood and Ben Wells are the fifth and sixth Texas players to have brushes with the law in the past four months. The others:

June 1: DE Henry Melton is charged with driving while intoxicated.

June 9: S Robert Joseph is charged with two misdemeanor counts of burglary of a vehicle.

July 28: Joseph is charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in connection with a break-in on July 27.

July 28: LB Sergio Kindle of Woodrow Wilson is charged with driving while intoxicated.

Aug. 2: DT Andre Jones is charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in the same July 27 incident in which Joseph was charged.

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