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Former Penn State standout now a Tampa drug kingpin?


Ever heard the name Gyasi Cline-Heard before?


I don’t blame you. He’s a 6'8" forward that averaged 16.8 ppg and 8.0 rpg for that Penn State team that upset North Carolina en route to the Sweet 16 back in 2001. After bouncing around professional basketball’s minor leagues for a decade, you probably would have figured that Cline-Heard headed for Florida to enjoy life as a basketball retiree in a place where the sunshine and the beach is never too far away.

You would have been wrong:

On Feb. 10, Cline-Heard, 32, was arrested on charges he was the leader of a drug and gun ring in Pasco and Pinellas. He and a 25-year-old woman, Jessica Colon, were picked up during a raid at her house in Tarpon Springs. Cline-Heard’s tattoo shop in Palm Harbor, Legacy Tattoo, was also raided, along with his house in Trinity. Two other people were arrested at a New Port Richey home as part of the round-up.

Four dozen guns were found during the raids. The enormity of the stockpile of weapons — most of them assault rifles and machine guns with rounds that could easily penetrate officer’s vests and cruisers — shocked investigators. Lt. Chuck Balderstone of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office picked up one firearm with a long silencer at a news conference announcing the bust.

“That’s something you would see in a spy movie,” he said.

In the sting that led up to the arrest, officers bought 617 grams of cocaine and crack from Cline-Heard. Based on a quick google search, one gram of coke costs about $50, which means that this sale was worth more than $30,000. Those four dozen guns that were seized?

They were “to kill people and to keep their drug operation going,” according to a Sheriff involved in the case.

An upstanding member of society if you ask me.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.