Johnson-Koulianos arrested for drug-related charges, suspended from team


Rob Johnson/The Daily Iowan
Iowa football player Derrell Johnson-Koulianos is driven away from the Johnson County Courthouse by his attorney John Beasley on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010.
Rob Johnson/The Daily Iowan
Rob Johnson/The Daily Iowan
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Police arrested star Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos Tuesday on several drug-related charges, resulting in his suspension from the football team.

According to police reports, Iowa City officers issued a search warrant on Johnson-Koulianos' roommate, 21-year-old Brady Cooper Johnson, around 1:50 p.m. on Tuesday. While in the residence at 1128 E. Washington St., police reportedly found marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs, and more than $3,000 in cash.

Police report that Johnson-Koulianos, 23, admitted he knew the drugs were being used, and likely sold, out of the residence.

Officers found a variety of anxiety and pain medications — including Pamoate, Zolpidem Tartrate, Hydromorphone Hydrochloride (Diluadid), and Diazepam — in Johnson-Koulianos' room, along with cocaine residue and marijuana.

Johnson-Koulianos' reportedly admitted the pills were his. Police said he also acknowledged he didn't have a prescription for them and that he gets them from friends. Authorities also said he admitted he had smoked marijuana in the last 24 hours, as well as detected cocaine and other drugs in a urine test.

Johnson-Koulianos set Iowa records this season in both all-time receiving yards and receptions. The Campbell, Ohio, native has recorded 2,616 career receiving yards and 173 career catches. Both of those marks surpassed those previously established by former Hawkeyes Tim Dwight (2,271 yards) and Kevin Kasper (157 catches).

Head football coach Kirk Ferentz issued a press release on the incident quickly on Tuesday.

"I am highly disappointed to learn of the charges," Ferentz said. "[Johnson-Koulianos] has been suspended from all team activities."

Johnson-Koulianos was charged with four counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of keeping a drug house, and two counts of unlawful possession of a prescription drug.

Roommate Johnson was charged with a controlled-substance violation, possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a prescription drug, and keeping a drug house. Johnson, who has a prior drug conviction, had two different types of pills, including the prescription drug Xanax.

Officers also found marijuana and a digital scale in the home.

Johnson-Koulianos was released from the Johnson County Jail around 8:15 p.m. on $8,000 bail. Roommate Johnson was still in jail as of 10:30 Tuesday on a $10,000 bond.

Colloquially known as "DJK," the 6-1, 200-pounder has 46 catches for 745 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

Despite being the most productive receiver in the history of Iowa football, Johnson-Koulianos' relationship with Ferentz has been strained at times. Most notably, an instance in which he wore a baseball cap, sunglasses, and earrings to a Tuesday media interview session drew the displeasure of the 12-year Hawkeye head coach during the 2007 season.

Johnson-Koulianos was not even listed as one of Iowa's top four receivers in the team's depth chart after the conclusion of spring practice in 2009. This came despite the fact that he recorded a team-best 44 receptions for 639 yards and three touchdowns in 2008.

"When people question who I am and what I stand for and what we're trying to do at Iowa, I would never go out and do something that would represent our program in a negative light," he said at the team's media day in August. "I'm not going to go on a booze cruise at 2 a.m."

Johnson-Koulianos didn't start at receiver in what was his final career regular-season game at Minnesota on Nov. 27, which Iowa lost, 27-24. Ferentz said after the game that wide receiver Colin Sandeman had a "better week of practice."

Johnson-Koulianos still recorded three catches for 34 yards and one touchdown, while also returning a Golden Gopher kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown.

Many Iowa fans voiced their opinions Tuesday night via social networking sites, as word of the incident clogged Twitter timelines and Facebook newsfeed.

"I think it's pretty ignorant that he would waste an opportunity like that," UI sophomore Alec Fetterer said. "He just let a lot of fans down because he was the all-time leading receiver here. I'm in a state of shock.

Keeping a drug house is an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years in prison and $6,250 in fines. Possession of a controlled substance is a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year or $1,875. The unlawful prescription drugs is also a serious misdemeanor, generally punishable by up to a year in jail or $1,500.

A phone call was not immediately returned by Johnson-Koulianos Tuesday night, and his voice mail was full.

Johnson-Koulianos is scheduled for an initial appearance at the Johnson County Courthouse today at 8 a.m.

DI reporter Mitch Smith contributed to this report.

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