No charges will be filed against American swim star Michael Phelps from his being photographed with a pipe typically used to smoke marijuana, police announced.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lett said that after a full investigation into the November party at which Phelps was photographed, touching off a controversy that led to a three-month ban, there was not enough evidence to charge anyone.
"Having thoroughly investigated this matter, we do not believe we have enough evidence to prosecute anyone that was present at the November party," Lett said on Monday.
Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics six months ago, was shown holding a bong in a photograph published two weeks ago by a British newspaper, humiliating the superstar swimmer.
Phelps was suspended for three months by USA Swimming and lost a sponsorship deal with cerealmaker Kelloggs.
Police confiscated the bong, whose owner reportedly tried to sell the now-infamous pipe for 100,000 dollars on eBay, and questioned people regarding the party after learning it was staged near the University of South Carolina.
Lett had been criticized by some for seeking attention in going after Phelps but defended his inquiry as responsible law-enforcement given the situation.