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Earlier this month, a Belknap County grand jury indicted Patriots defensive back Patrick Chung with the charge of cocaine possession. The incident occurred on June 25th at Chung’s residence in Meredith, New Hampshire. Police arrived at the house “on a call for service” and obtained evidence leading to the felony drug charge. The indictment states that the NFL player “did possess or have under his control a quantity of the controlled substance cocaine.”
Chung was indicted for possession of a controlled drug under the New Hampshire Controlled Drug Act. The Act makes it illegal “for any person to manufacture, possess, have under his control, sell, purchase, prescribe, administer, or transport or possess with intent to sell, dispense, or compound any controlled drug, or controlled drug analog, or any preparation containing a controlled drug.” New Hampshire has two felony categories, A and B, with B being the lower offense level. Chung faces a Class B offense. Under New Hampshire law, a conviction would carry a potential sentence of 3 1/2 to 7 years in prison. In lieu of incarceration, Chung could receive a combination of a suspended sentence, probation, fines, and counseling.
Chung was scheduled to attend the indictment arraignment this past Monday, but his attorney petitioned to appear on his behalf and entered a not guilty plea. Chung is now scheduled for a court appearance in Belknap County Superior Court on November 8th, 2019.
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Chung’s placement on the team and eligibility to play in games during the 2019-2020 season depends on a number of factors including whether or not he is found guilty in November. The safety has proved instrumental to the New England’s defense with a recorded 727 total tackles, 53 passes defended, and 11 interceptions in his 140 career regular-season games. He’s additionally accompanied the Patriots to three Super Bowl wins. Prior to the offense, Chung had signed a one-year contract extension to stay with the Patriots through the 2021 season.
Currently, Chung has not played in any preseason games and Coach Bill Belichick declined to comment on his status this past week. Chung himself also avoided commenting on the situation, telling reporters that he would only be open to speaking about the game of football.
We are aware of the reports regarding Patrick Chung. We will not be commenting while his judicial proceedings take place.
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Chung is subject to discipline under the National Football League’s substance abuse policy if he’s convicted, pleads guilty or no contest, or enters a diversionary program to resolve the charges.The NFL authorizes commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Chung for up to 4 games if Chung (who would be a first-time offender of the policy) acknowledges possession, or is otherwise found to have possession, of cocaine. Despite the fact that he has pled not guilty, if Chung’s legal maneuvers lead to him acknowledging possession of cocaine, there is a good chance he will receive the max 4 game suspension.
Losing Chung would be detrimental to the Patriot’s defense but the team could possibly avoid punishment from the league until the case goes to trial. With the next court date not until November, it seems unlikely that any resolution will come during the 2019 season.
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