Left to right: Jordan A. Love, Gerold M. Bright and Sean L. Carter. The three USU football players were charged with misdemeanor drug possession, Dec. 17, 2019 (Courtesy: Utah State Athletics).
LOGAN — The drug charges filed against three Utah State football players, Jordan Love, Sean Carter and Gerold Bright, have been dropped. Prosecutors dismissed the charges earlier this week in Logan City Justice Court, after determining that they didn’t have enough evidence to move forward with the cases.
Cache County Deputy Attorney Jacob Gordon said he did a full review of the cases. He explained that officers were justified in ticketing the four athletes but there wasn’t enough evidence to fight the charges in court.
“While there was probable cause I believe to arrest and cite [the suspects] for possession of marijuana,” said Gordon, “I did not feel that there was sufficient evidence to get to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. For that reason, I declined.”
The charges stemmed from an incident December 14 at Millennial Towers, west of the USU campus.
Logan City police officers had been called to the apartment building around 11:30 p.m., on report of Love, Carter, Bright, and track and field athlete Elani Rice allegedly doing illegal drugs. Police were able to smell the odor of burnt marijuana and requested warrants for the four athletes to be drug tested.
The urine tests all showed positive signs of THC metabolite. However, officers did not find any marijuana in the apartment and none of the athletes would say whether they had seen each other smoking the drugs.
Officers still cited Love, Carter, Bright and Rice with possession of a controlled substance, based off of the test results and the smell of burnt marijuana they detected. None of the suspects were booked into jail.
Cache County Attorney James Swink agreed with Gordon’s decision to dismiss the charges. He said without the physical evidence of drugs, the cases couldn’t move forward.
“When cases come to the County Attorney’s Office, we have a duty at that time before we file an information with the official charging documents, to have a higher level of evidence,” Swink said. “We reviewed the evidence. We talked with law enforcement. As we evaluated the cases, we were not able to reach that level of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that we would need at a jury trial.”
Rice still faces one count of possession of alcohol by a minor, a class B misdemeanor. She is scheduled to appear again in court February 4.
The Utah State Athletic Department was contacted about the county attorney’s decision to clear the charges. They declined to issue a statement.
The December incident happened days before Love, Bright and Carter left for Texas for the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl. All three were later cleared to play by head coach Gary Andersen, who blamed the media for reporting on the drug charges.
“I just hope at the end of this whole thing that those people can have the same miserable day that those kids had when these articles came out,” Andersen said. “It’s highly irritating, to put kids, in this setting, in this situation, at a bowl game and to have to have them go through those hours and those times just because somebody told somebody something that obviously wasn’t completely correct.”
The Aggies later lost to Kent State 41-51.