DATE: Monday, August 4, 1997                TAG: 9708040081

SECTION: FRONT                   PAGE: A1   EDITION: FINAL 


                                            LENGTH:   91 lines


Allen Iverson, last season's NBA rookie of the year, was arrested on drug charges near Richmond early Sunday, state police said.

He initially was charged with a weapons violation as well, but state police said Sunday night that charge will not be prosecuted.

Iverson, 22, a guard with the Philadelphia 76ers and of the 3700 block of Victory Blvd. in Hampton, was released from the New Kent County Jail after his sister posted a $2,000 bond, said state police spokeswoman Mary Evans. His whereabouts Sunday night were not immediately known.

Iverson's car, a 1996 Mercedes, was stopped at 1:27 a.m. after it was clocked by radar going 93 mph in a 65 mph zone on westbound Interstate 64 near Talleysville, said Sgt. Kerry Stiles, a state police spokesman.

Trooper Michael Pierce pulled the car over about 20 miles east of Richmond.

Iverson was not driving, however. He was sitting in the front passenger seat, Stiles said. The driver was identified as Maduro Earl Hill, 23, of the 100 block of Locus Ave. in Hampton.

Pierce initially cited Hill for reckless driving. It was as the trooper returned to the Mercedes to give the driver a ticket that ``he smelled marijuana,'' Evans said.

He asked the three occupants to step out of the vehicle, which they did, Evans said.

When Pierce searched the car, ``he recovered a 2 1/2-inch-long marijuana cigarette in the front passenger seat where Allen Iverson was sitting,'' Evans said. He also ``found some crumpled marijuana in the back seat of the car.''

Also, when Pierce looked under the seat Iverson had been in, he found a Glock .45 caliber pistol. Iverson told the trooper it was his gun, Evans said.

The magazine, with six rounds in it, also was found. But there were no rounds in the chamber.

Hill was released on a summons for the reckless driving charge.

Iverson and the back-seat passenger, identified as Damon Stewart, 24, of Hampton, were arrested.

Iverson was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of firearms with a controlled substance. The latter charge will be dropped, police said.

Stewart was charged with possession of marijuana. He was released on a $1,000 bond posted by Iverson's uncle.

After Iverson was released, however, Evans said state police discovered the second charge only applies in situations where a pound or more of marijuana is found. Because of that, she said the gun charge would be dropped.

Iverson and Stewart face a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 12 in New Kent County General District Court.

If convicted, they face up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 fine on the drug charges.

Iverson has previously admitted to carrying a gun for his own protection.

While visiting his Hampton home last September, a shot was fired into his Mercedes while it was parked at Hampton University. Iverson was not in the car, but two of his friends were. Neither was hurt.

Police later found a gun registered to Iverson in the front seat.

Iverson was the NBA's No.1 draft pick last year when he was chosen by the 76ers.

Dave Coskey, 76ers vice president of marketing and communications, said team officials would not comment on the arrest until speaking with Iverson.

``If Allen broke the law, he won't be given any special treatment,'' Coskey told the Associated Press.

Sunday's arrest is not Iverson's first brush with the law.

Point guard Iverson was a standout basketball player at Bethel High School in Hampton. He ran into trouble at age 17, when he was involved in a bowling alley brawl between rival groups of black and white high school students.

Convicted on rioting charges in 1993, Iverson was sentenced to five years in jail. He served four months before former Gov. Douglas Wilder interceded, granting clemency, and the conviction was subsequently overturned.

Iverson played for two years at Georgetown University before turning pro.

His rookie season was marred by a fight with teammate Jerry Stackhouse, his admission that he carries a gun and a steady stream of criticism from some of the league's best-known veterans, who felt he didn't respect them enough.

His family has expressed concern for him.

Iverson's mother became so concerned about friends who were staying in Iverson's home that she went to Philadelphia, asked them to leave and installed her brother, Gregory, a former Marine, in the condominium.

And Reebok, the athletic shoe and clothing company that has signed Iverson to a $50 million endorsement deal, has assigned a full-time manager to provide additional direction for Iverson.

Iverson's 23.5 points-per-game average led all rookies and was sixth in the league overall. He also ranked seventh overall in steals (157), eighth in minutes (40.1 per game), 11th in assists (567) and 13th in 3-point baskets (155). ILLUSTRATION: [Color Photo]

Allen Iverson was a standout at Bethel High School in Hampton. He



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