Cardinal player arrested in drug trafficking ring
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 24, 2003 01:15 PM
An Arizona Cardinal player was arrested Tuesday and accused of operating a large-scale drug trafficking organization.
Dennis McKinley, 26, a second-string fullback who plays mainly on special teams, was responsible for shipping thousands of pounds of marijuana throughout the country, Phoenix police said.
Authorities accuse McKinley of being one of the chief financiers of the drug ring and say he would buy bulk amounts of marijuana from Mexican traffickers who had smuggled it into Phoenix.
Commander Joe Klima of Phoenix Police's Drug Enforcement Bureau said the marijuana would be stashed at a warehouse paid for by McKinley before it's loaded onto commercial trucks and transported to New York, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Kentucky, Texas and Virginia. The going price is about $525 a pound, authorities said.
"In New York, it can go for three times what it goes for here," Klima said.
The investigation began last August and has led to the arrest of 27 people in New York and Phoenix, and the seizure of 1,500 pounds of marijuana, 11 firearms, nine vehicles, two tractor-trailers and more than $400,000 in cash, officials said.
McKinley, who was arrested at his Ahwatukee Foothills apartment at about 6:30 a.m., was one of five people arrested Tuesday morning. Seven others have been indicted and face arrest.
McKinley, who has played with the Cardinals since 1999, attended Mississippi State University. Last year, he made $563,000, which is considered low for an NFL player.