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DROPPING THE BALL CAUGHT AT THE SCENE OF A HOTEL DRUG BUST, IMAGE-CONSCIOUS COWBOYS RECEIVER MICHAEL IRVIN LOST SOME LUSTER

April 01, 1996
April 01, 1996

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April 1, 1996

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DROPPING THE BALL CAUGHT AT THE SCENE OF A HOTEL DRUG BUST, IMAGE-CONSCIOUS COWBOYS RECEIVER MICHAEL IRVIN LOST SOME LUSTER

IT WAS a few minutes before midnight on March 3 when four police
officers arrived at room 624 of the Residence Inn in Irving,
Texas, responding to a report, by the hotel's manager on duty,
of noise and possible prostitution. Officer Matt Drumm knocked
on the door repeatedly. "We could tell there were a number of
people moving around," Drumm said later. "When we did get the
door [partially] open, they had the security bar on it. A big
cloud of marijuana smoke came out."

This is an article from the April 1, 1996 issue Original Layout

The door was shut for another minute, according to police, and
then completely opened by a young woman in a black miniskirt and
halter top. Behind her was another woman, also dressed, and two
men, tall and muscular, wearing pants but no shirts or shoes.
Inside the split-level hotel suite, police found two dinner
plates. On one, the officers would report, was cocaine; on the
other, cocaine and marijuana. Handcuffs came out. A voice
emerged. "Hey," said one of the men, "can I tell you who I am?"

"I know who you are," Drumm answered.

Football players, shrouded in helmets and padding while on the
job, are not commonly recognized away from the field, but
Michael Irvin, the Dallas Cowboys' brash and media-friendly
receiver, is easy to spot. He has been on three triumphant Super
Bowl teams and five Pro Bowl teams. He cohosts TV and radio
shows in Dallas and is a partner in a clothing company and a
charitable foundation. He is coming off his best season as a pro
and is in the second year of a five-year, $14.5 million
contract. He grew up poor in Fort Lauderdale in a house with 16
siblings. Now Michael Irvin lives large. He has a wife, Sandi,
who was a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, and two children,
Myesha, 6, and Chelsea, five months. He lives in a suburb north
of Dallas and spends his money all over town.

But on March 3, two days before his 30th birthday, Irvin was in
a $119-a-night hotel room with two "self-employed models,"
Angela Renee Beck, 22, and Jasmine Jennifer Nabwangu, 21, and a
former University of Miami and Cowboys teammate, tight end
Alfredo Roberts, who is one of Irvin's business partners. There
was a party in progress, no doubt about that. The officers
reported seizing nearly three ounces of marijuana and almost two
ounces of cocaine, and paraphernalia, including rolling papers,
razors, a tube used for snorting cocaine and two vibrators.
Beck, according to police accounts, claimed sole ownership of
the drugs--"This is all mine," she told police as they collected
the evidence. "I bought it"--and the police, in accordance with
Texas law, arrested only her.

"It is not unusual for us to get loud-party calls and for
officers to walk in a room full of people with drugs lying
around," says Irving police lieutenant Jimmy Perdue. "We don't
arrest everyone in the room. You had somebody saying, 'It's
mine, all mine,' and based upon the location of where a lot of
it was found, it substantiated her claim that it was hers."

At about 1:15 a.m., the police released Irvin, Roberts and
Nabwangu. Beck was booked a half hour later on charges of
possession of cocaine and marijuana and was held at the Irving
jail. "Obviously she did take the rap for everyone involved,"
said Perdue.

At 3:50 a.m. Beck received her first visitors: Irvin's lawyer,
Kevin Clancy, and another lawyer, Jim Drakeley. "I'm not exactly
sure who called me," Clancy said on Sunday, "but somebody said
she was in jail. So I said I'll go talk to her and tell her I'll
get her out." Beck was released at 11:25 a.m. after posting
$5,500 bond. She is being represented by James A. Rolfe, a
prominent Dallas lawyer and a friend of Clancy's who has
represented a number of celebrities, including singer Kenny
Rogers. Nabwangu's lawyer is Kristen Ciccarelli, Clancy's
daughter.

Dallas television station KXAS broke the news of Irvin's
thwarted birthday party on March 19. Roberts and Nabwangu
appeared last Thursday before a grand jury investigating Beck's
arrest. (The attorneys for both declined to make their clients
available for comment.) Dallas County prosecutor Norm Kinne did
not rule out the possibility of others being charged, saying,
"It is very difficult for me to believe, based on the
circumstances--the amount of marijuana smoke that came out the
door, the drugs scattered in different locations throughout the
split-level room--that all of this belonged to one person." On
Monday, Irvin and Clancy went to Kinne's office and met with
prosecutors for about an hour. Details of the meeting were kept
secret by a judge's gag order. However, Irvin remains subject to
a grand jury summons.

A woman, unidentified but described as a former roommate of
Beck's, last Thursday told KXAS, "I know who brought the coke to
the room, and it wasn't Angela Beck. Angela Beck couldn't afford
$50 worth of groceries, yet had $1,500 in cocaine? No way." The
TV station also reported that the confiscated snorting tube,
with cocaine residue in it, was found in Irvin's overnight bag.

Irvin was one of two participants in January's Super Bowl to
make a mark in the annals of Texas jurisprudence in March. Last
Friday morning "Bam" Morris, the Pittsburgh Steelers running
back, was arrested, along with another man, and charged with
possession of six pounds of marijuana. Morris was driving a
black Mercedes on Interstate 30 in Rockwall, 25 miles northeast
of Dallas, when he was stopped for swerving. Police found the
marijuana in the trunk. Morris and his passenger said they
didn't know how the marijuana got there. At his arraignment
Morris pleaded not guilty and was released on $25,000 bail.

Back in Dallas County, police and prosecutors were saying that
Irvin and Beck had had an ongoing relationship. The unidentified
woman on KXAS said she had been with Beck and Irvin at the
Residence Inn previously. Beck used to work at The Men's Club of
Dallas, a topless establishment that many of the Cowboys
frequented, a place believed by its management to enjoy a classy
reputation. "We even serve lobster," says Nick Nemeth, the
manager, who added that Irvin was at least an occasional visitor.

Mike Bailey, the Residence Inn manager, says Beck and Nabwangu
were more than occasional visitors to the hotel. In his call to
police on March 3, Bailey said, "They've been running the rooms,
and we have to clean up after them." Describing the rental
patterns established by Beck and Nabwangu, who have not been
charged with prostitution, the manager also said, "A lot of
people coming in and out. I mean it's boom, boom, boom. Like by
the hour people are coming in the room." About 10 minutes after
receiving Bailey's call, the police arrived.

Dallas has a fanatical relationship with its football team. In
his interview with SI last week, Drumm was asked if he's a
Cowboys fan. "Sure," he said. "Yes, I am."

And what was his reaction after he recognized Irvin in the hotel
room?

"Disappointed," the police officer said. "I looked away."

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER [Michael Irvin]TWO COLOR PHOTOS: IRVING, TEXAS, POLICE DEPARTMENT After Beck claimed all the drugs were hers, she was the only member of the Irvin party arrested. [Mug shots of Angela Renee Beck]