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Friday, February 12, 2010
Sutton arrested on drug charges

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Former Oklahoma State basketball coach Sean Sutton was arrested and spent the night in jail for allegedly trying to obtain prescription painkillers from out of state. Authorities said he appeared to be suffering withdrawal symptoms before he was released Friday.

Sutton, 41, was arrested Thursday night, hours after he arrived to pick up a shipment of painkillers under another person's name, said Mark Woodward, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

A probable cause affidavit from bureau Agent Brian Surber said he spoke with Sutton at the jail Friday morning.

"I noticed Sutton's profusely sweating and appearing in discomfort and asked him if he was experiencing withdrawals." Sutton told the agent that "he was feeling symptoms of withdrawal and was going to 'tough it out."

Later in the morning, Surber said, "I learned that Sutton had been vomiting and showing additional symptoms of withdrawal and the jail staff was concerned about his health."

A phone message left for Sutton was not returned Friday. Payne County District Attorney Rob Hudson said Stillwater attorney Trace Morgan was representing Sutton, and Morgan didn't immediately return a phone message left at his office.

Authorities said the package Sutton picked up contained about 40 pills, including the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam, two forms of the stimulant Adderall and an unidentified substance. The affidavit said Sutton told the agent he had obtained the drugs from people he had met while in an inpatient rehabilitation program.

Sutton has not coached since resigning from the Cowboys under pressure in April 2008. He and his father, former Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton, attended the Kansas-Texas basketball game in Austin, Texas, on Monday and sat courtside at the Texas Tech-Oklahoma game the following night in Norman.

Sutton succeeded his father as coach of the Cowboys after he stepped down in May 2006 following a drunk driving crash. Eddie Sutton had been treated for alcohol addiction prior to his return to Oklahoma State, his alma mater, and had planned to set up an addiction awareness program at OSU that never materialized.

"We are saddened by this news and our thoughts are with Sean and his family," university spokesman Gary Shutt said in a statement.

Sutton "seemed sober, seemed on the right track" after receiving treatment last year, Woodward said, but authorities received tips in August that Sutton may have been visiting multiple doctors in an attempt to get additional prescription drugs.

"We confronted him and he confessed that he was going to multiple doctors, and he agreed to go to treatment," Woodward said.

Sutton, however, did not keep in touch with authorities after he completed treatment and the bureau received information that he was pursuing drugs from New York and Washington state, Woodward said. The arrest was first reported by the Tulsa World.

Sutton spent the night at the Stillwater jail, Hudson said. A judge set a $10,000 bond for Sutton, and he bonded out of jail Friday. As part of the bond, Sutton will be required to be in inpatient treatment, Hudson said.

Arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday. Formal charges won't be filed until then, Hudson said, but said it's likely Sutton will be charged with obtaining a controlled or dangerous substance (CDS) by fraud, possession of a CDS, attempted possession of a CDS and use of a communication device to facilitate a felony.

"Justice is blind and we have to treat him like we would anyone else," Hudson said. "Our goal will be to do what's right."

One of Sutton's former Big 12 Conference coaching colleagues offered his support.

"He's a wonderful person and a terrific basketball mind," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "When a friend like that hits a bump like this, your heart goes out to him, your thoughts and your prayers and you just hope that everything's going to be OK. All I can say is I don't know anything about what happened. All I know is he's having a tough time right now and I just hope he knows we're all thinking about him."