Former USC Football Player Set to Plead Guilty in Gambling, Drug Case

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  • Former USC football player Owen Hanson allegedly ran massive offshore sports betting empire out of Peru
  • Authorities claim Hanson trafficked “well over a ton” of cocaine, methamphetamine and Ecstasy in the U.S. and Australia
  • He was also tied to a mysterious suitcase full of cash totaling $702,000 found in Australia
  • Accused of trying to get a man to launder $2.5 million through Australian casinos

Former USC football player is set to plead guilty January 10 in a San Diego federal court for his alleged role as ring leader of an international drug-trafficking and offshore gambling ring.

Owen Hanson was among 22 charged as part of the investigation with nearly half already pleading guilty.  He played for USC during the years Pete Carroll coached the team.

Hanson was initially charged only with coordinating a drug transaction before authorities later learned he had been running an elaborate online gambling enterprise, Macho Sports, out of Peru with clients throughout the United States.

Prosecutors also allege that Hanson trafficked “well over a ton” of cocaine, methamphetamine and Ecstasy in the U.S. and Australia.  He was also implicated in an Australian case tied to a mysterious suitcase filled with $702,000 in cash in 2011.

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Owen Hanson played football for USC during Pete Caroll's reign as head coach there

Hanson had been in the country partly to persuade a professional gambler, Robert “RJ” Cipriani, to launder $2.5 million through the casinos, according to court documents and Cipriani, according to the LA Times.

Cipriani said he gambled away the money on purpose and fled to the United States, where Hanson threatened him and his wife with death unless the $2.5 million was paid back, according to court documents.

The case has garnered nationwide attention and has been prominently featured on the pages of over the past five years.  Details of the plea agreement were not immediately known.

- Gilbert Horowitz,

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