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Marinovich Reportedly Said Cocaine was a Gift


A USC football fan gave Todd Marinovich the cocaine he was carrying on the night he was arrested, Marinovich told police.

Marinovich told Newport Beach officer Joe Heppler that the drug was a gift from an unknown person who recognized him as the USC quarterback, according to the police report of the arrest.

According to the report, "Defendant Marinovich said the unknown subject gave him the bindle of cocaine as a gift and told him to go party."

The report said the fan gave Marinovich the narcotic at a Newport Beach bar.

Marinovich was arrested at 4:15 a.m. Sunday near his mother's home in Balboa on suspicion of possession of cocaine. Police also found a small amount of marijuana in his pants pocket.

According to the report, Marinovich and three others, later identified as USC athletes, had been drinking at neighborhood taverns.

One of the quarterback's companions, defensive tackle Adam Swaney, was cited for possession of marijuana but was not arrested. The report said officers confiscated a "marijuana pipe" from Swaney.

USC announced Tuesday that Swaney, 20, had been suspended from the team indefinitely for violation of team policy. A 6-foot-6, 250-pound redshirt freshman from Oakmont High School in Roseville, Calif., Swaney has yet to play in two seasons with the Trojans.

He declined comment.

The others--redshirt freshman center Craig Gibson, 20, and Marc Fertig, 21, a former junior varsity walk-on baseball player at USC and son of former Trojan quarterback Craig Fertig--were not arrested. Neither could be reached for comment.

The Daily Trojan, USC's campus newspaper, reported today that Swaney and Gibson were ordered to take drug tests Monday at the school's health center.

A decision on whether charges will be filed against Marinovich will be made in the next couple of days, said Mike Koski, an Orange County deputy district attorney.

Marinovich is scheduled to appear Feb. 11 for arraignment at Newport Harbor Municipal Court. Koski, who handles drug-related felonies, said the white powder taken from Marinovich will be weighed and analyzed at the county's crime laboratory.

"Depending on how much it weighs, it could be a felony (offense) or a misdemeanor," Koski said. "We want to treat him like we would anyone else."

Carl Ambrust, also an Orange County deputy district attorney, told the Associated Press: "If he had more than a gram of cocaine, he'll be charged with a felony. If it was less, he'll be charged with a misdemeanor. If it's right at a gram, we'll have to decide."

Ambrust said Marinovich probably would not be jailed if convicted of a felony, although the offense carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison.

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