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Prosecutor wants prison term for Mike Tyson

Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson is charged with drug possession and driving under the influence of drugs.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2007 15:15 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson was charged on Wednesday with drug possession and driving under the influence of drugs, and the top prosecutor of Arizona's most populous county wants to send him to prison.

"He has run out of second chances, at least in my book," Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said in a news conference. Tyson, 40, was charged with two felonies for drug possession and two misdemeanour counts of driving under the influence of drugs. If convicted of all four charges, he could be sentenced to between 2 1/4 and 7 1/2 years.

The charges stem from his arrest Friday in Scottsdale, where Tyson was stopped in his car after leaving a nightclub. An officer found bags of cocaine in his back pocket and another in a package of cigarettes in his car, according to court records. Tyson's criminal attorney, Thomas Marlow, didn't return phone calls Wednesday from The Associated Press.

Tyson's arrest was his latest legal entanglement, dating more than a decade.

In 1992, Tyson was convicted of rape in Indiana. Six years later, the former boxing champ pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault charges in Maryland.

Thomas said Tyson's record makes him eligible for prison time instead of Arizona's drug treatment programs for nonviolent offenders.

"I don't take any pleasure out of doing this," Thomas said. "A week ago, my kids and I were watching Rocky Balboa in the movie theater, and we saw Mike Tyson make a cameo appearance in the movie, and now here we are and he's looking at going back to prison."

Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history in 1986, when at 20 he knocked out Trevor Berbick. Four years later he was knocked out by James "Buster" Douglas. By 1997, Tyson's career hit its low point when he bit Evander Holyfield's ear during a fight.

Tyson recently got back in the ring for a series of four-round exhibitions. When announcing the world tour, Tyson told reporters he was deep in debt and wondered if people would still pay to watch him fight.

On Friday, Tyson was released without bond after a brief court appearance. He didn't make any comment to reporters, except for offering a greeting.

Thomas said Tyson should be back in court for a preliminary hearing within the next two weeks.

The car Tyson was driving was spotted weaving and nearly struck a police vehicle after he failed to halt at a stop sign early on Friday, according to a police probable cause statement filed in court. During the stop, police said they saw him trying to wipe a white powder off the console of his car.

No alcohol was detected in his system. But Thomas said Tyson failed a sobriety test and officers searching his vehicle found three bags that later tested positive for cocaine. The officer who made the arrest wrote in his report that Tyson "admitted to using today and stated he is an addict and has a problem."

Tyson is required to submit to drug and alcohol testing and is prohibited from drinking or taking any nonprescription drugs while the case is pending.

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