As the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office continued its vow to place former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and Paradise Valley resident Mike Tyson behind bars to protect the public, a county grand jury delivered another legal punch against him Friday morning.
Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced Friday that a grand jury returned a 4-count indictment against Tyson. The former heavyweight champion was hit with two felony counts of drug-related charges and two misdemeanor counts of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs after he left the Pussycat Lounge in Scottsdale the morning of Dec. 29, according to a police report.
The indictment against Tyson in lieu of a preliminary hearing, follows preliminary charges filed by the county attorney’s office last week.
Tyson, 40, a Paradise Valley resident, was pulled over by a Buckeye police officer after he saw tyson run a stop sign at Drinkwater Boulevard and North Scottsdale Road about 1:47 a.m. on Dec. 29. The officer saw the black BMW Tyson was driving swerving during an East Valley DUI Task Force night targeting impaired drivers.
Two small bags of white powder were found in Tyson’s back pocket, and while being processed at the DUI Task Force Center at North Scottsdale and Chaparral roads minutes later, Tyson admitted to officers he smoked two marijuana joints earlier in the day, and smokes cocaine by taking tobacco out of Marlboro cigarettes. Tyson also told police he also was taking Zolof pills, an anti-depressant.
Tyson is facing a Class 4 felony count of drug use or possession, a Class 6 felony count of possession of drug paraphernalia and two Class 1 misdeameanor counts of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
When Tyson was asked by officers why he took cocaine, he told them he was an addict and used it whenever he could get his hands on it, according to the report.
The indictment was re
turned about 11 a.m. Friday and was delivered to Tyson’s attorney, Thomas Marlowe, about an hour later, according to Barnett Loftstein, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
Although Tyson has been released from jail on his own recognizance, Thomas said he will continue to push for Tyson’s conviction on all charges.
“I will continue to seek incarceration for this defendant,” Thomas said during a heavily-attended press conference in downtown Phoenix on Friday. “He endangered the public and himself and he must be held accountable for his actions. It’s my hope that a conviction and prison time will help him break his addiction and learn to comply with the law.”
When Tyson was pulled over on North Scottsdale road south of Earll Drive after an officer saw the black BMW Tyson was driving swerving, the officer said he saw Tyson wiping off his dashboard and noticed white powder on his console, according to the police report. He later failed a sobriety test conducted in the parking lot of Sugar Daddy’s, a nightclub at 3102 N. Scottsdale Road.
While he was being processed at the DUI Task force Center, he repeatedy gave officers the peace sign by holding up his two fingers, telling them if you turned it upside down in Ireland, it means (expletive) you,” according to the report.
Marlowe told The Tribune Friday that he didn’t want to comment on what kind of plea he plans to enter on Tyson’s behalf at the arraignment scheduled for Jan. 22 in Maricopa County Superior Court or if Tyson is currently seeking counseling for any substance abuse problems.
Tyson also did not have his vehicle registration in his vehicle, had no proof of insurance and his driver’s license was not in his possession, according to the report.
If convicted on all charges, Tyson could be sentenced up to 7 1/2 years in prison, according to the county attorney’s office.
Because of Tyson’s 1992 rape conviction in Indiana, and pleading no contest to assaulting two motorists after a crash in a Washington, D.c. suburb in 1999, Thomas contends Tyson is not eligible for drug counseling instead of prison as a first-offender would be under Arizona law.
Marlowe wouldn’t say how Tyson reacted to the indictment.
“Andrew Thomas is an educated public official,” Marlowe said. “While I’m sure he is basing his decision on what he currently knows, past situations coupled with the current allegations, I’m confident that like any educated and intelligent person charged with a duty to impart justice when presented with additional information or circumstances, he will at least review his position and consider it remains truly just or appropriate as opposed to simply legally viable.”