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Wolfpack's Thornton, Jones Facing Drug Charges

Thursday, December 5, 2013 7:12pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Two North Carolina State football players face misdemeanor drug charges after police visited their apartment during a sexual battery investigation.

N.C. State University police Maj. David Kelly said sophomore running back Shadrach Thornton and redshirt freshman safety J.J. Jones were cited Wednesday with misdemeanor simple possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. In a probable cause affidavit for a search warrant, authorities said they following up on the sexual battery case and named Thornton as the suspect.

Kelly said no charges are filed in the battery case, which was reported to university police Monday, according to the affidavit.

In a statement Thursday, the school said coach Dave Doeren has indefinitely suspended Thornton; Jones had earlier informed the coaching staff that he would transfer.

"The N.C. State Athletics Department takes any allegation of illegal activity very seriously," the school said. "We have university and athletic policies and procedures in place regarding our expectations of conduct for our students. ... We will await the outcome of the legal process before we comment further."

Thornton, the Wolfpack's leading rusher with 768 yards, is receiving counseling as part of a deal with the court to defer prosecution for an offseason charge of misdemeanor assault on a female. Doeren suspended Thornton for the season opener due to that June arrest, though Thornton gradually earned back a leading role and twice ran for 100 yards - including 173 yards and two touchdowns against Florida State.

E. Lee Turner, Thornton's attorney in that case, declined to comment on the charges by email Thursday evening and said he would meet with Thornton early next week.

Kelly said two other Wolfpack players, defensive backs Juston Burris and Marchez Coates, shared the apartment but weren't charged. Police said they detected "a strong odor of marijuana" when Coates opened the door, then observed drug residue and paraphernalia in the apartment's common area, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Police also found marijuana or paraphernalia from separate bedrooms for Thornton and Jones, according to an inventory list of items seized during the search.