Former ECU, NFL wide receiver gets 14 years in prison for part in marijuana trafficking, distribution


Cleveland Browns wide receiver Richard Alston (15) runs for a touchdown as Chicago Bears’ Todd Johnson stretches but cannot make the tackle in the fourth quarter of a preseason game Friday, Sept. 3, 2004 in Cleveland. The Browns won 24-10. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A former Warren County, East Carolina, and NFL football player was sentenced to 14 years in jail Wednesday for conspiring to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, according to a news release from the United States Department of Justice.

According to court documents, Richard Alston was part of a multi-year, cross-country conspiracy to traffic in and distribute high-grade marijuana in Raleigh.

Federal agents executed a search warrant on Nov. 2, 2017 for apartments that were suspected to be stash locations for the large-scale operation. Agents found more than 40 pounds of marijuana and more than $370,000 in cash, a release said.

Agents then arranged for Alston’s next drug shipment on Nov. 6, 2017. They arrested two people that day who were responsible for transporting the drugs, which were for Alston and others. They found in their vehicle seven large bags containing almost 200 kilograms of marijuana along with almost $68,000 in cash, the release said.

A financial investigation found that Alston had laundered more than $2.7 million in drug money through a business bank account over several years.

Alston was a quarterback at Warren County High School in Warrenton.

He went on to play a handful of offensive positions at East Carolina before sticking as a wide receiver.

He led the Pirates his senior year with 36 catches for 702 yards and six touchdowns.

He had a brief stint with the Cleveland Browns after being signed as an undrafted free agent.

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