Haslem faces drug charges


MIAMI, August 17- Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem, who turned down richer offers to sign last month with the team he helped to a 2006 NBA title, is free from custody after being arrested on drug charges Sunday.

Police charged Haslem, who will be joined on the Heat next season by NBA superstar LeBron James, after his 2008 Mercedes sedan was stopped for speeding and smelled of marijuana.

A search uncovered a bag of marijuana, leading to charges of possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, a felony, and four counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.

A passenger in the vehicle, Antwain Fleming, told police the marijuana belonged to him. He was charged with a misdemeanor possession charge of under 20 grams.

Eric Schwartzreich, Haslem’s lawyer, said he was confident that Fleming’s admission would be enough to vindicate Haslem, who also faces a 269-dollar speeding fine and the seizure of his vehicle by police.

Haslem has averaged 10.0 points and 8.1 rebounds over seven NBA seasons, all been played for the Heat. He signed a five-year contract to remain with the club last month, rejecting richer deals to stay on a team that now boasts all-stars James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.