A tattoo parlor owner who bought Ohio State football memorabilia was charged Friday in federal court with drug trafficking and money laundering, though his attorney said there's no connection with the scandal unfolding over the sale of the items.
Edward Rife will plead guilty to the charges and cooperate with authorities, documents filed in U.S. District Court indicated. The charges and Rife's plea agreement don't mention the sale of the memorabilia.
Rife, 31, will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 200 pounds of marijuana, and one count of money laundering, the documents showed. He could face a prison sentence of 20 years although would likely receive much less under federal sentencing rules.
The money laundering charge alleges Rife paid $21,500 for a 2005 Nissan Infinity QX56 with money earned through the alleged drug transactions, according to the documents filed Friday.
Five players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, have been suspended for the first five games this fall for accepting improper benefits from Rife totaling between $12,000 and $15,000.
Coach Jim Tressel is also suspended and is still being investigated for knowing of his players' involvement with Rife and not reporting it to the NCAA or his superiors for more than nine months.
Rife's lawyer said Friday his client is taking responsibility for past mistakes.