Saints DT David Onyemata cited for illegal marijuana possession at Elmwood apartment


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New Orleans Saints defender David Onyemata was given a misdemeanor citation accusing him of illegally possessing marijuana in his Elmwood apartment late last month, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Earlier in the year, a Sheriff’s Office narcotics investigator received tip “that a quantity of marijuana products” were going to be at an apartment in the 5300 block of Citrus Boulevard, agency Capt. Jason Rivarde said. The agent considered the tip reliable and secured a warrant to search the apartment, which turned out to be Onyemata’s and was raided Jan. 29.

The Sheriff’s Office found marijuana, cannabis oil, marijuana edibles and hemp powder the Tuesday of the search, Rivarde said. Onyemata, whose first name is Ebuka, “was cooperative” with investigators and received a summons to appear in court at a later date, according to Rivarde.

The Sheriff’s Office believes the marijuana and other items were for Onyemata’s personal use, Rivarde said. But in Louisiana, possessing marijuana is illegal except in rare circumstances that didn’t apply in this case, and Onyemata “was arrested via summons,” Rivarde said.

Oneymata, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, served in a rotation on the defensive line this season and played nearly 60 percent of the snaps. The 2016 fourth-round pick finished the year with 4 ½ sacks and 35 tackles after appearing in all 16 regular-season games and two postseasons contests.

League discipline for marijuana possession varies, though a positive drug test typically results in a four-game suspension.

With Sheldon Rankins working his way back from an Achilles injury suffered during the playoffs, New Orleans could be down multiple defensive tackles to start the season if Onyemata faces disciplinary action from the league.

One of New Orleans’ other defensive tackles, Tyeler Davison, is set to become a free agent in March if he doesn’t first reach an agreement to remain with the Saints.

A native of Nigeria, Onyemata did not begin playing football until arriving at The University of Manitoba in Canada. He has previously said he picked up the game to have something to do between classes.

The Saints were intrigued with his potential and traded up in the fourth round of the draft to select the defensive tackle. He finished without a sack during his rookie season before notching two in 2017.

Onyemata is the second Saints player to be accused of a crime since the team’s elimination in the NFC Championship Game in New Orleans on Jan. 20. Cornerback P.J. Williams was arrested Jan. 23 on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and was soon released from jail on his own recognizance.