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Published: Saturday, 9/20/2008

Former BG captain cleared of all charges

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Hargrove Hargrove
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BOWLING GREEN - A former Bowling Green State University football captain has been cleared of all drug-related charges stemming from a May arrest at a hotel parking lot in Botkins, Ohio.

Loren Hargrove is free of any wrongdoing after a co-defendant pleaded guilty to being the possessor of two kilos (4.4 pounds) of cocaine that was seized from Hargrove's 2007 Chevy Tahoe. Melvin Cole, who once was a member of the Falcon football team, faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000 on a reduced charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Police arrested Hargrove and Cole on May 12 in Botkins, a rural community about 80 miles south of Bowling Green in Shelby County, after receiving complaints the two were dumping trash.

"The other guy stepped up and said it was his," said Shelby County Prosecutor Ralph Bauer.

Hargrove faced up to 20 years in jail on charges of drug trafficking and drug possession.

In a phone interview, Hargrove yesterday said he feels vindicated and is again comfortable socializing with his former teammates and coaches.

Hargrove, who graduated from BG in December, was exonerated Sept. 5 and was on the sidelines for BG's home game against Minnesota the following evening.

"I really wasn't nervous throughout the whole process, it was just very frustrating," Hargrove said. "It was put out there before any of the truth was told. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I definitely had no part of it."

Hargrove's side of the story is that he agreed to give Cole a ride to Bowling Green after Cole had flown into Cincinnati from his home in Memphis. Hargrove, however, said he was not aware Cole was carrying drugs. A female who drove Cole to the meeting place was not arrested.

"Melvin took ownership of the whole thing, just like he did in the beginning," Hargrove said. "He stated that neither I nor the girl he was with had any part of it. I had no idea because when the cop pulled up we were in a parking lot exchanging his luggage from his girlfriend's car. I don't engage in that activity and I don't mess with that stuff."

Hargrove spent four days in jail before posting bond of $100,000. A starting linebacker for last year's team that finished 8-5, Hargrove hopes to resume his football career and will soon tryout with Cleveland, Columbus and Philadelphia of the Arena Football League.

"I still want to pursue my dream and I'm still healthy," Hargrove said.

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com



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