By Michael Biesecker, Associated Press
DURHAM, N.C. — Officers seized a 9mm handgun and ammunition when North Carolina’s leading scorer, P.J. Hairston, was arrested on a marijuana possession charge, according to a police report released Friday.
Durham police stopped Hairston Wednesday for a routine license check, during which he was arrested. Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael says the pistol was found on the ground outside the rented 2013 GMC Yukon during the search. Also seized were three cigars and two plastic baggies containing more than 1 1/2 ounces of marijuana.
Hairston, 20, and his passengers Miykael Lael Israel Faulcon, 20, and Carlos Devone Sanford, 23, both of Durham, were each charged with possession of less than one-half ounce and released on $1,000 unsecured bonds.
Faulcon is a basketball player at Elizabeth City State University. No occupation was listed for Sanford on the police or arrest reports.
Michael said Hairston was also charged with driving without a license, though that charge wasn’t listed in records on file at the Durham County courthouse.
The pistol is not listed as being reported stolen, but Michael would not comment on whether officers have determined who owns the weapon. She said police are now processing the pistol for forensic evidence, including fingerprints and ballistics tests.
Neither Hairston nor his passengers are 25, the age auto rental companies often require for the person signing for the car. Those younger can sometimes rent under special requirements. Michael said she had no information about whose name is listed on the rental agreement.
The license plate listed on the police report shows the car is registered with the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles to Hertz rent-a-car at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The company on Friday advertised its lowest daily rate on a base GMC Yukon for that location at $130, according to its website.
UNC athletic spokesman Steve Kirschner said Tar Heel basketball coach Roy Williams and athletic director Bubba Cunningham are aware of the arrest. No decision has been announced about Hairston’s status with the team.
“We don’t have all the facts,” Kirschner said. “We will continue to monitor and gain as many facts as we can. And at the appropriate time, we’ll make an announcement when we feel we have enough facts to do so.”
Hairston was the Tar Heels’ leading scorer last season, averaging 14.6 points per game. After the sophomore guard became a starter, he helped the Tar Heels (25-11) dig out of a 0-2 start in the Atlantic Coast Conference to reach the ACC tournament final and the third round of the NCAA tournament before losing to Kansas.
A Greensboro native, Hairston announced in April that he would return for his junior season instead of entering the NBA draft.
Whose name is listed on the rental agreement for the new SUV Hairston was driving could be critical for the Tar Heels. If the vehicle was paid for by a team booster or sports agent, the NCAA could potentially impose penalties on the basketball program.
The university is only now emerging from a series of embarrassing revelations involving improper perks provided to athletes that came to light after football player Marvin Austin wrote on Twitter about a night of partying at a lavish club in South Florida in summer 2010.
The revelation triggered investigations by both the university and the NCAA that determined UNC football players had accepted gifts from professional sports agents and that athletes had also benefited from no-show courses and instructors who didn’t teach. The disclosure about improper contacts with agents led to the firing of UNC football coach Butch Davis and NCAA sanctions on the team, including a postseason ban that prevented the Tar Heels from playing in either the ACC championship or a bowl game.