Former Washington Bullet Joe Pace has recovered from an apparent drug overdose and is in jail in Pesaro, Italy, awaiting trail on drug charges.
Pace, who recently finished a season playing center with the Scavolini Pesaro First Division team, was found unconscious Thursday night allegedly after inhaling about 100 milligrams of heroin. He was rushed to a hospital but recovered quickly enough to be released by Friday morning.
Saturday, however, Pace was arrested on charges of drug use and distribution and was taken to Pesaro's Rocca Costanza jail. A magistrate ordered the arrest after a search of Pace's apartment turned up a bag of unidentified white powder and following accusations of drug importation by Leonardo Carnaroli, who found Pace unconscious. A trial before a special tribunal is scheduled Monday.
According to a lawyer provided for Pace by the Scavolini team, the 6-foot-9 player is now in apparent good health, although his morale is "not good." At the moment, Pace is facing five separate charges, but the lawyer, Paolo Pazzi, said some of these seemed likely to be dropped.
The charges included importing five grams of heroin from the United States, buying other heroin in nearby Rimini and sharing it with others, possessing a large quantity of other alleged drugs (the white powder), use and distribution of drugs with regard to the alleged heroin used Thursday night and defamation in connection with allegations by Pace that some people who had visited his apartment Thursday night had tried to poison him with treated chocolates.
According to judicial sources, the defamation charge is almost certain to be dropped and, although a formal test on the white powder has yet to be concluded, there is reason to believe that it may be as Pace reportedly claims, only powdered glue.
Pace has reportedly told investigators that it was the first time he had ever tried drugs.
According to Pazzi, should the most serious charges be dropped or proved to be untrue, Pace is likely to be given a suspended sentence. A recent Italian drug law allows the courts to be lenient to persons charged with personal use or found in possession of small doses of drugs.
Should the investigation now being carried out by public prosecutor Paolo Anseli turn up more incriminating evidence, Pace could, if found guilty, be given a stricter sentence and then released on provisional liberty. In either case, he would probably leave Italy immediately, together with his wife.