Winthrop’s Middleton pleads guilty to drug charge

04/24/2012 12:00 AM

04/24/2012 11:41 AM

Winthrop University basketball player Reggie Middleton pleaded guilty to a marijuana possession charge in court Tuesday morning but is expected to enter a prevention program.

If accepted to the program, the marijuana charge would be dismissed, and Middleton would have the opportunity to expunge it from his record.

Otherwise, he will face a $570 fine or 30 days in jail.

Dressed in a crisp button-down shirt and dress pants, Middleton told Judge Jane Modla he had already “taken initiative” by attending a class at Keystone Substance Abuse Services. He was also prepared to apply for the program.

Middleton, 22, had just completed his senior season with the Eagles when he was charged, according to a Winthrop police report.

In late March, a facilities management employee responded to a work request in Middleton’s Courtyard apartment. Middleton had asked someone to fix a leaking sink and tub in his bathroom, according to the report.

However, the employee found a portable scale on top of the sink area and a 2.5-quart jar in a cabinet, which contained a green, plant-like material he believed to be marijuana, the report states. A Winthrop police officer, the employee and another member of university staff returned to the apartment.

Middleton’s roommate said Middleton was not home at the time and let the group inside, the report states. The officer smelled a faint odor of marijuana when he walked into the bathroom. The jar was partially covered with a red cloth at the bottom.

Inside, the officer saw the marijuana-like substance wrapped in a plastic bag, which he took into evidence, the report states.

The only access to the private bathroom was through Middleton’s room, according to the report.

Middleton’s roommate told officers he didn’t know about marijuana in the apartment and he was unaware of any drugs, the report states.

On Tuesday during an interview, Middleton said the marijuana did not belong to his roommate. However, he did not say the marijuana belonged to him.

Based on the evidence and statements, Middleton was charged.

No witnesses spoke in court Tuesday.

In October, Middleton faced a disorderly conduct charge after a fight broke out at the McDonald’s near campus, hours before the Eagles’ scheduled 6 a.m. practice, according to reports. Rock Hill police used stun guns on Middleton and another basketball player.

Middleton was under the influence of alcohol at the time, reports state.

At the time, school officials said the incident was under review by university on multiple levels.

Days later, Middleton and the other player told The Herald they were defending the honor of a group of women who were being harassed by another McDonald’s customer.

The disorderly conduct charge is pending, but a court date is tentatively slated for next week.

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