Hornets Montrezl Harrell faces felony drug charges

Charlotte Hornets center Montrezl Harrell (8) is facing felony drug charges related to marijuana.

Charlotte Hornets center Montrezl Harrell (8) is facing felony drug charges related to marijuana.


Charlotte Hornets forward Montrezl Harrell is facing felony drug charges stemming from a traffic stop in Richmond, Ky., last month.

According to Madison County, Ky., court records, Harrell was scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Monday to answer the traffic citation. Harrell, 28, was pulled over by a Kentucky state trooper at 9:58 a.m. on May 12 while traveling southbound on I-75 for following the vehicle in front of him too closely, according to the police records.

Trooper Jesse Owens stated he “upon stop observed odor of marijuana” from the silver 2020 Honda Pilot that Harrell was driving, according to the citation. Harrell, Owens wrote in the report, “admitted to being in possession of marijuana and produced a small amount from his sweatpants.” During a subsequent search of the vehicle, which the report states Harrell claims was rented, “three pounds of marijuana in vacuum sealed bags” were found in a backpack in the back seat, according to the citation. He’s been charged with trafficking less than five pounds of marijuana.

Under Kentucky law, possessing or trafficking eight or more ounces but less than five pounds of marijuana is a Class D Felony for first-time offenders. It is punishable by 1-5 years of incarceration with a fine ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

The Hornets declined comment.

Richmond is located in the central part of Kentucky, just south of Lexington. Harrell, a native of Tarboro, N.C., played at the University of Louisville from 2012-15 before getting drafted by Houston in the second round in 2015.

Harrell, a seven-year veteran, was acquired by the Hornets from Washington in February in exchange for Charlotte native Ish Smith and Vernon Carey Jr. He appeared in 25 games for the Hornets and became a key contributor off the bench, averaging 11.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and two assists per game.

Harrell is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent when the NBA’s new league year begins next month.

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Roderick Boone joined the Observer in September 2021 to cover the Charlotte Hornets and NBA. In his more than two decades of writing about the world of sports, he’s chronicled everything from high school rodeo to a major league baseball no-hitter to the Super Bowl to the Finals. The Long Island native has deep North Carolina roots and enjoys watching “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” endlessly.
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