Authorities raid O.J. Simpson's Florida home as part of drug, theft ring probe

Tuesday, December 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI (AP) _ Federal agents searched O.J. Simpson's home for more than six hours Tuesday as part of an investigation into an Ecstasy drug ring also suspected of laundering money and stealing satellite TV equipment.

Nine people were arrested in Miami and two in Chicago as part of Operation X, FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said. Simpson was not among those arrested, and the FBI refused to discuss why he was involved.

Simpson's attorney, Yale Galanter, said no drugs or large amounts of money were found at the home and that his client had done nothing wrong. He said two boxes removed from the home contained legal satellite television equipment.

``I can assure you Mr. Simpson does not have enough money in his pocket or in his bank account to be involved in a money laundering ring,'' Galanter told reporters.

He said Simpson's only connection to the case is that his name was mentioned in a phone conversation involving some members of the ring that was taped by federal authorities. He said Simpson has no involvement in the ring, doesn't believe he knows the people involved and doesn't know why his name was mentioned.

Nine other homes in Miami were also searched by authorities.

Simpson was at home when agents arrived at about 6 a.m. In video shot by a helicopter, the former football star could been seen in his back yard, wearing a white bathrobe and playing with his dogs during the search.

About two hours later, Simpson left alone in his sports utility vehicle without speaking to reporters. He later declined comment.

Orihuela said the drug ring imported Ecstasy from Holland and stole equipment used to counterfeit cards that activate satellite TV receivers. She said the ring laundered about $800,000 and that a suspected ringleader remains at large, probably in Brazil.

Simpson moved to Florida from California after a civil court jury ordered him to pay $33.5 million for the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles. He had earlier been cleared of criminal charges.

It wasn't Simpson's first brush with the law since he moved to the Kendall neighborhood 15 miles southwest of Miami. He was acquitted in October of grabbing another driver's glasses and scratching the man's face during a road-rage argument.

Galanter said Simpson was not angered by the FBI search.

``He is used to this kind of thing,'' Gallanter said.