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Huish to Serve Time on Pot Charge

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Olympic gold medalist Justin Huish must serve four months in jail after pleading no contest to a felony charge that he sold marijuana out of his Simi Valley home.

The 1996 archery champion could have received up to three years in prison. But citing Huish’s lack of a criminal record, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Herbert Curtis on Wednesday decided on the lesser sentence.

Prosecutors said they were satisfied, noting that Huish, 25, seemed remorseful. He must report to jail July 11.

Huish, who pleaded no contest last month, was arrested Feb. 15, 2000, after police witnessed an apparent drug deal outside the Olympian’s home in Simi Valley.

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A man leaving Huish’s home was stopped by detectives, who found a plastic bag of marijuana in his pocket.

The man said he bought the drugs from Huish, prompting police to return to the archer’s house with a search warrant.

During the search, investigators found a briefcase holding several half-ounce plastic bags of marijuana, pot seeds and apparent business cards.

An unloaded shotgun, two scales and a safe containing $23,000 in cash were also seized, police said.

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Huish pleaded not guilty to the charges after his arrest, claiming he was providing the drug for an HIV patient.

Prosecutors, however, argued that Huish was not a qualified caregiver allowed under state law to administer marijuana for illnesses.

They said Huish was simply selling the marijuana to a caregiver, which meant he was not protected by the law.

The case ended Huish’s archery career. He quit the U.S. team last year after his arrest, telling the National Archery Assn. that he didn’t want the case to interrupt his team’s practice as members prepared for the Sydney Games.

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The Olympic Committee sent a letter to the judge in the case commending Huish for his decision to resign from the team and take responsibility for his actions.

Before announcing the sentence, the judge also considered letters from Huish and his family.

Huish’s roommate, Brian Mastrangelo, 24, was also charged in the case with three misdemeanor counts of allowing drug sales at the home he shared with Huish and possession of martial arts weapons.

Mastrangelo was found guilty last month by Curtis in a nonjury trial and sentenced to 60 days in jail.

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Prosecutors said Huish was charged with the more serious counts because he was responsible for selling the drug.


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