Ex-Jazz center Whaley arrested in Salt Lake County

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Police in Salt Lake County arrested former Utah Jazz center Robert Whaley and found marijuana "between his buttocks," according to a jail document.

Whaley, 27, had warrants for his arrest for absconding from a probation in Michigan. A police document filed with the Salt Lake County jail says gang detectives stopped a car about 4:30 a.m. Thursday. Whaley was a passenger and was not wearing a seat belt, the document says.

Unified Police Department Lt. Don Hutson said gang detectives were monitoring apartment complexes near 3900 South and 700 West. The apartments have had recent crime problems and gang problems, including shootings, Hutson said.

Detectives spotted an occupied car sitting in a parking lot with no lights on and decided to investigate.

Whaley identified himself to police as Kareem Johnson, the document says. Apparently, it didn't fool detectives.

"They recognized him as being a former Jazz player," Hutson said.

Police discovered Whaley had a warrant for his arrest.

"Robert was also found to be in possession of several baggies of marijuana that he was holding between his buttocks," a police officer wrote.

Hutson did not know how much marijuana Whaley had. If it is a small amount for personal use, prosecutors in Utah are unlikely to seek charges because that might delay Whaley's return to Michigan, Hutson said.

Whaley remained in the Salt Lake County jail on Friday morning. The jail's Web site says he is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Hutson did not know who was with Whaley but said there's no indication Jazz players were there.

Hutson also did not know why Whaley was in that neighborhood.

"We don't know if he lives there or is visiting," Hutson said.

A state of Michigan Web site lists Whaley has having a 2008 conviction for maintaining a drug house. It says he has absconded from parole in that state.

"It was sad to hear," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of Whaley's arrest, "but I think we tried to tell him the right things."

The Jazz drafted Whaley in the second round of the 2005 draft. He appeared in 23 games for the team the following season.

The Jazz traded Whaley to the Toronto Raptors in June 2006. The Raptors waived him before he played a game. Whaley returned to the Jazz for training camp a few months later but never played another regular season game in the NBA.

In December 2005, Whaley and his then-teammate Derron Williams had a run-in with the law. The pair were at Harry O's nightclub in Park City and had a confrontation with Denver Nuggets fans.

The confrontation never went beyond shouting and posturing. Some garbage cans were thrown and somehow Whaley slit his hand.

The real trouble came when Whaley and Williams gave fictitious names to Park City police and received misdemeanor citations for providing false information. Whaley also lied to the Jazz about how he received the cut.

Whaley gave his name as "Bobby Williams" while Williams gave "Torrey Ellis."


Ross Siler contributed to this report.