Maroney arrested but not charged in drugs, weapons case

Denver Broncos running back Laurence Maroney says he did nothing to warrant his arrest Monday night in St. Louis on drugs and weapons allegations and that he hopes to "get it solved as quickly as possible."

St. Louis police said five people in an Infiniti Q56 were arrested Monday night. Police declined to name the suspects but said all five are accused of possessing marijuana. Three, including a 25-year-old man, were accused of unlawful use of a weapon.

Maroney's publicist, Jane Higgins, confirmed that the running back was one of those arrested in the Infiniti on the weapons allegation. She denied Maroney was arrested for drugs.

Maroney, 25, is from suburban St. Louis. No one has been formally charged in the case.

Maroney told ESPN Radio in St. Louis on Tuesday that he "thought I'd never be in this position" while declaring his innocence and acknowledging he needed to make "better decisions."

"The police have a hard job," Maroney said, "and I understand everything and the procedures they went through and why they had to do what they had to do, so it's a hard job for them. And, definitely, right now, it's a hard time for me, so right now we're just trying to deal with this and get it solved as quickly as possible."

Higgins and Maroney said he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Higgins also said in a statement: "He was not arrested for any drugs nor was he involved in a high-speed chase. He was released without being charged with any offense, and we do not anticipate he will be charged with any criminal offense."

Police spokeswoman Erica Van Ross said one of the men had a valid concealed-weapon permit but that state law prohibits possessing a gun while under the influence of drugs. She declined to elaborate.

Van Ross said the process of seeking charges could take up to a month.

Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth said: "We're aware of the matter but have no additional comment at this time."

Van Ross said that around 10:30 p.m. Monday, officers saw three vehicles near Chaifetz Arena causing traffic to slow because the vehicles repeatedly stopped so occupants could talk to people on the street. Officers also suspected those in the vehicles were smoking marijuana.

Officers pulled over the Infiniti and a GMC Yukon; the third vehicle fled.

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Van Ross said that inside the Infiniti officers found three weapons -- a .45-caliber handgun, a 9mm pistol and a .223-caliber rifle -- along with a substance believed to be marijuana. Five of the six people in the Infiniti were arrested and released pending application of warrants, Van Ross said.

Five other people were in the Yukon. One of them, a 28-year-old man, was arrested for being a felon in possession of a weapon.

Maroney, who has been active in the community in St. Louis, was asked on ESPN Radio what he would tell a "little kid, and he was crying, 'Laurence, I thought you ...'"

"Just be strong and believe that everything I did and was doing was in the right," Maroney responded. "There was a lot of -- how can I put it? -- a lot of things that were said, a lot of rumors were said that we really can't speak on right now. ... We've just got to keep working and let everybody know that I am a good kid in the community and I (contribute so much to) the city."

Maroney was a standout at Normandy High School in St. Louis County, and he has remained active in the community during his NFL career. Recently, he has helped victims of a New Year's Eve tornado that struck the area where he grew up. And last summer, he gave out 3,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to St. Louis students.

Maroney said he wasn't scared when police approached the car.

"I didn't really feel like I did anything illegal," he said. "I have a conceal/carry license, and I told (police) about everything. I was being truthfully honest to the police the whole time."

Higgins, who appeared with Maroney on the radio broadcast, said her client was "a good guy. This is truly unfortunate, and I believe to my core ... and I believe him always."

Maroney said he had learned "to be more careful and more aware of your situation. And, really, don't put yourself in situations like this so things like this can happen to you."

The New England Patriots chose Maroney with the 21st overall pick in the 2006 draft. He was acquired by former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who had coached him in New England, for a fourth-round draft pick on Sept. 14. It was one of several personnel miscalculations that helped lead to McDaniels' Dec. 6 ouster.

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Maroney was injured when he arrived in Denver and played in just four games for the Broncos, rushing 36 times for 74 yards, a paltry 2.1-yard average. He didn't play in the final 10 games of the season and was deactivated for the last eight.

The running back spent his first four seasons with the Patriots, with whom he averaged 4.2 yards per carry with 21 touchdown runs and 10.2 yards per catch with one touchdown reception. His best season was 2009, when he set career highs with 194 carries and nine touchdowns.

Maroney is in the final year of his contract, and his future with the Broncos is uncertain.

Maroney's arrest is the latest in a series of legal troubles involving Broncos players.

Linebacker D.J. Williams was stripped of his captaincy after his second drunken-driving arrest last season, rookie cornerback Perrish Cox faces charges in a sexual-assault case, and rookie linebacker Kevin Alexander was waived hours after he was arrested on a domestic-violence allegation last month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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