Derek Loville Indicted for Drug Ring Led by Ex-USC Player Owen Hanson

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2016

Denver Broncos running back Leeland McElroy carries the ball during drills at the team's headquarters in southeast Denver, Thursday, Aug. 26, 1999. McElroy is locked in a battle with rookie running back Olandis Gary for the spot to back up Broncos' running backs Terrell Davis and Derek Loville. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Former NFL running back Derek Loville was among 22 people named in a federal indictment accusing the group of drug trafficking, racketeering conspiracy, sports gambling and money laundering.

According to Veronica Rocha of the Los Angeles Times, former USC tight end Owen Hanson allegedly led a drug ring that had operations in the United States, Mexico and Australia:

Using a network of runners and bookies that spanned both U.S. coasts, wagers were accepted on major football and baseball games. Kenny Hilinski, an expatriate who lived in Peru, was responsible for gambling operations, prosecutors said. He ran several websites such as used by bettors, coordinating payments and directing the distribution of proceeds, according to the indictment.  

To ensure debts were paid, Daniel Portley-Hanks, a private investigator from Los Angeles, was hired to assist in digging up any information on delinquent gamblers and set up threats, prosecutors said.

Loville, who played for the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos in eight NFL seasons, has been accused of "distributing drugs for Hanson in Arizona," per the indictment. 

Rocha's report noted the "crimes are said to have occurred between June 2011 and this month." The indictment also mentioned Hanson and his partners reportedly "threatened a customer's spouse with bodily harm in an attempt to collect an alleged $2.5-million debt."

Hanson's lawyers denied the accusations against their client in an email statement provided by Rocha: "Mr. Hanson, a former USC football player, has never engaged in violent or intimidating conduct beyond the football field. Time will show that the many of the individuals who have made these allegations are criminals and their word not credible."

Hanson played volleyball and was a walk-on tight end at USC in the mid-2000s. He was previously arrested on suspected ties to international drug smuggling and money laundering last September. 

Loville had two stints in the NFL from 1990-91 and 1994-99, playing for the Broncos teams that won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998.