A player on Pittsburgh’s new Arena Football League team has been charged with felony marijuana possession and other drug charges stemming from a traffic stop in his western Pennsylvania hometown last year.

The Beaver County Times first reported that police filed charges Wednesday against Bernard “Josh” Lay Jr., 28, a defensive back for the Pittsburgh Power who once played for the University of Pittsburgh.

Lay hadn’t been arrested by Thursday morning, and Aliquippa police Chief Ralph Pallante told The Associated Press he wasn’t sure how soon that would happen.

Aliquippa police said Lay was a passenger in a car that was pulled over March 21, 2010 for a traffic violation, according to an eight-page criminal complaint.  

After smelling marijuana, police searched the vehicle later that night and said they found two dozen “individually wrapped” baggies of marijuana, seven “large bags” of marijuana, a box of sandwich baggies, a digital scale and two prepaid cell phones.

Lay and the other men in the car were all charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, a felony, because of the amount of drugs found and because of the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop detailed in the complaint.

Shortly after the car was stopped “5 to 6 rapid fire gun shots rang out in the area,” the complaint said. The arresting officer, Sgt. Robert Sealock, “knows this to be a tactic for getting officers off a vehicle that is stopped for trafficking narcotics,” the complaint said.

Nobody was injured by the shots and police haven’t identified who fired them. But Chief Ralph Pallante said the relatively large amount of marijuana found in the car, and how some of it appeared to be wrapped for sale, led police to believe the men intended to sell the drugs.

“With such a large quantity, I would think so,” Pallante told the AP, though police don’t know the amount of drugs involved because they’re still being processed at a state police crime lab.

Pallante said the men weren’t arrested at the scene because the charges stemmed from a search of the impounded car hours later, but he did not return calls later Thursday to explain why police waited nearly 13 months to file the charges.

Lay is also charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police charged all three men because, under Pennsylvania law, they were considered to be in “constructive possession” of anything found in the car. Pallante said the car belongs to someone else, who police don’t expect to charge, because they believe the drugs belonged to Lay and the two others in the vehicle.

Officials with the Pittsburgh Power did not immediately return calls for comment.

The team drew nearly

14,000 fans to Consol Energy Center for its first-ever game March 11, which Lay missed with an injury. He’s played in three games since, however. The team doesn’t play again until April 16, also at home.

Lay was a high school football star in Aliquippa, about 20 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, before playing at Pitt. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints and spent time in training camp and on the practice squad of that team and the St. Louis Rams. He also played with the Berlin Thunder in NFL Europe and the USFL’s California Redwoods.


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