Ex-USC athlete arrested for alleged role in international drug ring

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SAN DIEGO — An ex-USC football player arrested in Carlsbad for his alleged role in an international money-laundering and drug-trafficking ring is scheduled for a detention hearing in federal court in San Diego Friday.

Owen Hanson Jr., 33, was among five men arrested following an investigation into allegations of drug trafficking and money laundering in the U.S., Mexico and Australia. Hanson has since pleaded not guilty to a single charge in a San Diego federal courtroom, although information on charge he was facing was not immediately available, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

According to the Australian New South Wales Police Force, its detectives were working with FBI agents in San Diego during searches that turned up cash, gold, silver, marijuana and documents.

Police said in a statement they were now working to have Hanson extradited to Sydney on warrants for money laundering, supplying a large commercial quantity of drugs, perverting the course of justice and intent to defraud by false or misleading statements.

The investigation conducted jointly by the FBI and New South Wales police began after about $700,000 was seized from Hanson’s former business partner at a Sydney hotel four years ago. He allegedly claimed the money was Hanson’s investment in a business, but another man told authorities the cash was a payment from a band’s Australian tour, according to the San Diego Union- Tribune.

The investigation led authorities to an alleged drug-trafficking ring that had imported cocaine from Mexico to Australia via the U.S. and associated money-laundering, which prompted them to involve the FBI’s San Diego Field Office, New South Wales police said.

The four other men allegedly involved in the ring were arrested in Australia on Thursday on suspicion of crimes including perverting the course of justice, money-laundering and participating in criminal group, police said.