A June 24 trial date on felony drug charges was set Wednesday for suspended University of Akron men’s basketball player Alex Abreu and his co-defendant.
Abreu, 21, and his attorney, Bob Meeker, made a brief appearance before Summit County Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands, without any comment on the case in open court. They later finalized the trial date with court officials.
According to statements Akron police released previously, Abreu and co-defendant Austin Lee Durgala, also 21, were arrested March 7 after police said they accepted a package containing 5 pounds of marijuana.
Meeker commented on those allegations, after he and Abreu quickly left court, for the first time since the arrests.
The package was delivered to a home on East Dartmore Avenue, which was the residence police listed for Durgala, and it was not addressed to Abreu.
“That’s true. It was not,” Meeker said. “It was mailed to the residence where the other person was arrested, Alex was not there at the time and it was not sent to him.”
Meeker declined to comment about whose name was on the package, citing what he described as some “open areas” of police and prosecution evidence that still need to be examined before trial.
Police said the package had been intercepted at a local courier service after a K-9 unit detected the drug during shipment.
Abreu, a junior from Puerto Rico who was the Zips’ starting point guard on one of their most successful teams, was suspended indefinitely by university officials following his arrest.
His abrupt departure, with the Zips about to begin play for a Mid-American Conference men’s basketball title, stunned the community’s sports fans after he had been praised by coaches and fellow players as the team leader.
The Zips went on to win the MAC title, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, but lost in the first round to Virginia Commonwealth.
Abreu, who is free on bond, previously pleaded not guilty to trafficking in marijuana, the most serious felony charge, and possession of marijuana.
Durgala’s attorney, Thomas DiCaudo, said outside of court he has filed a motion for a separate trial and is awaiting the judge’s ruling. He declined to comment on additional details about the case, saying he still was looking at areas of evidence.
Durgala, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of trafficking in marijuana and felony marijuana possession, also remains free on bond.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or email@example.com.