University of Missouri

Fan who flew on MU basketball plane pleads guilty to drug charges

Updated: 2014-02-05T00:22:21Z

Star news services

A Missouri fan who traveled on several men’s basketball team flights as a guest of a MU booster has pleaded guilty to a federal drug conspiracy involving cocaine and marijuana distribution in Columbia.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that online court records show Levi McLean Franklin Coolley pleaded guilty Jan. 17 to two felony counts of attempting to sell more than 88 pounds of cocaine and an unspecified amount of marijuana between 2005 and 2011, as well as one count of money laundering.

Coolley, who owned a car stereo shop in Columbia, was not a Mizzou donor. He was given access to team flights by a donor to the program, Jay Linder, and also received complimentary tickets from players at nine games during 2008-10.

Coolley was arrested by FBI agents at the MU team hotel in Omaha, Neb., the morning of the Tigers’ 2012 NCAA Tournament loss to Norfolk State.

MU athletic officials launched an internal investigation after the arrest, interviewing players separately with an attorney present. The review found Coolley had no improper influence on players and did not provide gifts in exchange for tickets.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson in Kansas City told the AP that the criminal case against Coolley did not involve Missouri athletics.

“We’ve never made any allegations of any connection,” said spokesman Don Ledford.

Coolley’s plea deal requires him to forfeit $54,400 that he reportedly earned from drug sales and funneled into his car stereo business. He faces a minimum 10-year prison sentence. A sentencing hearing is not yet scheduled.

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