Suspended Gonzaga Star Heytvelt Faces Felony Drug Charge

Wednesday, February 21st 2007, 6:03 am
By: News On 6

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ Suspended Gonzaga center Josh Heytvelt has been charged with felony possession of a controlled substance following his recent arrest in nearby Cheney, where police alleged they found hallucinogenic mushrooms in a gym bag in his car.

Heytvelt, 20, of Clarkston, and teammate Theo Davis, 21, of Brampton, Ontario, were arrested on Feb. 9 and booked into the Spokane County Jail for investigation of possession of a controlled substance.

The case of Davis, a redshirt freshman who has not played because of injuries, will be referred to Cheney Municipal Court and it will be up to the prosecutor there to determine whether he will be charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, said Assistant Spokane County Prosecutor John Grasso. Police allege they found a partial marijuana cigarette in Davis's pocket.

Court documents released Tuesday said police found 33.2 grams _ just over an ounce _ of mushroom parts inside a plastic bag in the back of the Chevrolet Blazer that Heytvelt was driving. Possession of any amount of illegal mushrooms is a Class C felony.

A summary of facts filed with the Heytvelt charge in Spokane County Superior Court includes an officer's report that Heytvelt denied the mushrooms _ and three chocolate muffins containing mushroom pieces _ were his and both Heytvelt and Davis denied knowing the hallucinogens were in the car.

Tests at the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab in Cheney indicated the presence of psilocyn, or psilocybin, both of which are controlled substances, the court documents indicated.

If convicted, Heytvelt faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $10,000 fine. But Grasso said a typical sentence for a first-time drug offender is six months or less, and the sophomore could be referred to drug court or a structured diversion program that would dismiss the charge after a year.

A summons will be sent to Heytvelt and his lawyer to appear at an as-yet unscheduled arraignment on the charge within two weeks, Grasso said.

Heytvelt, a 6-foot-11 sophomore center-forward, had been Gonzaga's second-leading scorer, averaging 15.5 points per game, and its leading rebounder, with 7.7 per game.

After their arrests, coach Mark Few placed the players on indefinite suspension for breaking team rules. Heytvelt, a former starter, has not played in the four games since his arrest.

Gonzaga University's position has not changed, spokesman Dale Goodwin said Tuesday.

``There are two issues at play here: For breaking team rules, coach Few took care of that. For alleged violations of the student code of conduct, the Student Life process is taking care of that,'' he said.

Final disciplinary action by the university would wait until the legal process has run its course, Goodwin said.

Dennis Thompson, a Spokane lawyer who represents the pair, was not in his office Tuesday and was unavailable for comment, a secretary said.