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EX-U. FOOTBALL PLAYER PLEADS GUILTY

SHARE EX-U. FOOTBALL PLAYER PLEADS GUILTY

Suspended University of Utah wide receiver Cedric Riles, arrested in a campus drug bust in August, pleaded guilty Thursday in Utah federal court to cocaine distribution charges.

Riles, 21, of Riverside, Calif., admitted selling about 48 grams of cocaine April 26 to a confidential informant in a dormitory room at the university and distributing four grams of the cocaine-based drug, crack, on June 8 to an undercover police officer.In exchange for his guilty pleas, seven additional drug charges, including conspiracy, will be dismissed at his Feb. 16 sentencing before U.S. District Judge David Sam, who said Riles faces up to 60 years in prison and $3 million in fines.

Sam took under advisement Riles' request that he be released into his parents' custody for the Christmas-New Year holidays, saying he was wary of placing trust in the defendant.

"I want to release Mr. Riles to be with his parents. I think that is my natural inclination," the judge said. "I have this compassion for him and his family."

But Sam noted that while Riles was in a federal halfway house following his arrest, he tested positive for drug use.

"Once the court places trust in an individual and that trust is broken, it reflects very adversely," he said. "This is a very serious matter. Those of you who play around in these matters so lightly . . . we cannot consider in the same light as with others who haven't."

Riles; offensive tackle Sean Henderson, 20, of Clovis, Calif.; linebacker Errol Martin, 21, of Oakville, Ontario, Canada; and former Utah tight end Clyde French, 23, of Carson, Calif., were arrested Aug. 3 on charges of cocaine distribution and conspiracy to distribute the drug.