Hearing continued for former Cal U. hockey players

May 20, 2013
Steven Powell, followed by attorney David Shrager, and Jesse Powell, followed by attorney Guy Amatangelo, exit the office of District Judge Josh Kanalis Monday afternoon. - Emily Harger / Observer Reporter

BROWNSVILLE – The preliminary hearing for two brothers who are former California University of Pennsylvania hockey players was continued Monday so testing can be completed on the suspected marijuana state police confiscated at their off-campus house last month.

Steven John Powell, 23, and Jesse Eaaon Powell, 19, both of Baldwin, were arrested April 16 at their home at 226 Second St., California.

State police were alerted April 15 by a postal inspector that a package was referred by a postal employee because of strong odor of marijuana coming from the heavily taped box. The box was addressed to Steven Powell. Later that day, a dog trained in drug detection picked the package out of a line-up of parcels.

Surveillance was conducted on the Powells’ residence. Steven Powell was identified through a photograph on the hockey club roster.

Once the package was delivered the following day, Steven Powell retrieved it. Police served a search warrant and took the two into custody. They found about 11 pounds of suspected marijuana in the box in addition to other marijuana in the home along with drug paraphernalia. Police also found almost $14,000.

Attorney David Shrager, who represents Steven Powell, and attorney Guy Amatangelo, who represents Jesse Powell, said they wanted to wait for tests to be completed on the marijuana before proceeding with the case. The hearing is now scheduled for Aug. 26 before District Judge Joshua Kanalis.

“It is the commonwealth’s burden to prove what it is,” Shrager said of the suspected marijuana. “I don’t have to prove anything. Plus, we also want to get the amount.”

Shrager said both men are college students and great athletes.

“This has been stressful for them,” Shrager added. “They are concerned how it is affecting their future and family. They are looking forward to putting it behind them.”

The two initially were charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. State police amended the complaint Monday against the two brothers to include a charge of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

The university suspended the hockey team for about two weeks but has since reinstated the club. Hockey players must undergo random drug testing.

The Powells remain free on $25,000 unsecured bond. They also face disciplinary action from the university. Schrager said they are “on leave” from the school.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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