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Fugitive Jailed in Drug Case Involving Rams Cornerback

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Federal authorities arrested a fugitive suspect Friday in the cocaine possession and conspiracy case involving Los Angeles Rams cornerback Darryl Henley and three others.

U.S. marshals detained Willie Haghey McGowan, 30, in San Diego, where he is being held until a court appearance Monday.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Deidre Z. Eliot would not comment on exactly how McGowan was tracked down or where he was arrested.

“That would be divulging some of the investigative techniques in the case,” she said.

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McGowan of Duarte was indicted in December along with Henley, former Rams cheerleader Tracy Donaho and two others in a conspiracy to transfer cocaine shipments from Henley’s Brea home to drop-off points in Atlanta and Memphis, Tenn., using Donaho as a courier. Until Friday, McGowan had been a fugitive.

In the indictment, prosecutors alleged that McGowan worked with Henley to distribute the cocaine, contending that he met with Donaho last July at Henley’s home and asked her to carry a suitcase of cocaine on a flight from Burbank to Memphis.

McGowan also instructed Donaho to bring a suitcase full of cocaine on a plane from Ontario International Airport to Atlanta, the indictment alleges.

Donaho has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle cocaine and is expected to cooperate with prosecutors and testify against the other defendant in a trial scheduled Aug. 23.

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McGowan’s arrest is good news for prosecutors, who wanted all the defendants tried together, Eliot said.

“We are always pleased when we can try everyone at once,” she said. “It makes things easier.”

In cases with multiple defendants, prosecutors are normally hampered if one is missing because the others usually try to mount a defense that blames the defendant absent from the courtroom.


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