Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf has been moved from a drug treatment center to the Montana State Prison for threatening a staff member and other unspecified behavioral problems at the center, a corrections official said Thursday.
The former San Diego Chargers and Washington State Cougars quarterback was charged last spring with breaking into two houses and stealing prescription painkillers near his hometown of Great Falls. He pleaded guilty in May to reduced charges, and his five-year sentence called for spending nine months in a locked drug treatment facility as an alternative to prison.
Leaf said then that he was looking forward to the treatment at Nexus Treatment Center in Lewistown. But on Thursday, the Montana Department of Corrections released a statement by Great Falls regional probation and parole administrator Dawn Handa that said Leaf will now serve his sentence in the Deer Lodge prison.
“The Montana Department of Corrections terminated Leaf from the treatment program and placed him in prison after he was found guilty of behavior that violated conditions of his drug treatment program. The violations included threatening a program staff member,” Handa said in the statement.
Corrections officials did not immediately respond to a request for details of the violations or the threats.
Leaf’s attorney, Kenneth Olson, did not immediately return a call for comment.
It was unclear when the threats or other behavior issues occurred. The Department of Corrections’ website listing offenders says Leaf has been an inmate since Jan. 10.
The Great Falls Tribune first reported Leaf’s imprisonment Thursday.
It was not immediately clear how the change would affect a probation violation he is facing in Texas for 2010 drug charges. Olson said in July that Randall County prosecutors had canceled their outstanding warrants so Leaf could serve his Montana sentence before facing possible penalties in Texas.
Leaf was charged with stealing prescription pain medicine from a player’s home while he was a coach at West Texas A&M. An investigation also found he obtained nearly 1,000 pain pills from area pharmacies in an eight-month span. His Montana conviction is a violation of his probation, prosecutors said.
Leaf was the No. 2 pick in the 1998 NFL draft, but his short-lived pro career earned him the reputation as one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
An investigation began in March 2011, after Great Falls postal workers reported they were suspicious of frequent packages Leaf received by paying COD charges of $500.
Central Montana Drug Task Force officers and Leaf’s parole officer confronted the former quarterback and found a container with 28 oxycodone pills inside and another container with a prescription made out to an acquaintance.
The acquaintance said Leaf had entered his home without permission, and Leaf was arrested.
Shortly after his release, two Cascade County residents told authorities they found Leaf inside their home.
The couple reported three different prescription medications missing.
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