The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team was more than 2,200 miles away when a Blacksburg police officer searched Ty Outlaw’s apartment March 21.
Nevertheless, Outlaw was given a summons Tuesday charging him with one misdemeanor count of marijuana possession.
Outlaw is a starting guard/forward for the Hokies, who will play Duke in the Sweet 16 on Friday. His status for that game has yet to be announced. Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said Wednesday that Tech was still gathering information.
Outlaw and the Hokies arrived in California on the afternoon of March 20 for their first two games in the NCAA Tournament.
At 6:07 p.m. that day, according to a subsequent search warrant, a Blacksburg police officer arrived at Outlaw’s apartment in the 700 block of Appalachian Drive in reference to a narcotics violation — a term that in legal use often encompasses marijuana. While attempting to make contact with the occupants of the apartment, the officer noticed “a strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from the residence,” according to the warrant. The officer wrote that she tried for several minutes but was unable to get in contact with any residents of the apartment.
The patrol officer, H.A. Rose, obtained a search warrant the following day. Police on March 21 seized one white pill, two yellow capsules, an electronic vape cartridge and green plant material from the apartment.
A summons for Outlaw was issued Monday but was not delivered by Blacksburg police until 12:14 p.m. Tuesday. That was the day after Outlaw and the Hokies returned from California.
The case was filed Wednesday. Outlaw, 23, is scheduled to appear in court on April 11.
Court records do not indicate why police decided to charge Outlaw in this case. Lt. John Goad, a spokesman for the Blacksburg Police Department, wrote in an email that he would not comment on an active case.
Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt would not address the specific facts of the case but explained in an email that a person can be charged with possession of drugs even if the person is not present with the drugs. The person needs to have dominion and control over the drugs, said Pettitt, but does not have to be in actual physical possession of the drugs.
Outlaw’s apartment is in a building owned by Oakbridge West LLC and managed by CMG, a company that manages numerous apartments and townhouses in the New River Valley. CMG principal Jeanne Stosser declined to comment Wednesday.
Outlaw, a graduate student in his final year with the Hokies, averages 8.7 points and has made a team-high 78 3-pointers this season. He had 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds in the Hokies’ second-round NCAA Tournament win over Liberty.
Under Virginia Tech athletic department policy, sanctions for an athlete charged with a misdemeanor can range from a warning to probation to suspension from play and/or practice. Babcock would issue the sanctions, unless he delegates that role to someone else. Dismissal from the team would not occur unless there is a conviction or guilty or no-contest plea.
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