June 15, 2017 / 6:37 PM / 2 years ago

Heavyweight champ Wilder arrested in Alabama on marijuana charge

FILE PHOTO: American boxer Deontay Wilder exits the federal courthouse in Manhattan, New York U.S., February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Nate Raymond/File Photo

(Reuters) - Heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder has been arrested in Alabama for marijuana possession, Tuscaloosa police said on Thursday.

After Wilder was pulled over on Wednesday for having windows tinted beyond the legal limit, officers smelled marijuana coming from inside his Cadillac Escalade, they said.

“Officers obtained verbal consent to search the vehicle and recovered a misdemeanor amount of marijuana from the console,” the Tuscaloosa Police Department said in a statement.

The 31-year-old American, who last fought in February when he beat Gerald Washington with a fifth-round knockout to retain his WBC heavyweight title, was released on bond for $1,000.

Wilder’s lawyer, Paul Patterson, said in a phone interview that the marijuana did not belong to Wilder.

He said Wilder was out of state for several days and returned home from Georgia in his Rolls Royce before switching to his Cadillac Escalade to run some errands.

Wilder has a large fleet of vehicles that associates and friends can access and prefers the Escalade for errands because the tinted windows offer more privacy, Patterson said.

“Mr. Wilder adamantly denies this is his marijuana and he looks forward to clearing his good name,” the attorney added.

“He has never been charged with any type of drug offense. He takes this seriously, he understands he is a role model for the community and state and nation and we are investigating who had access to his vehicle while he was out of state,” Patterson said.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Peter Cooney

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