Fan who traveled with Missouri team now faces federal drug charges

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A 33-year-old man who regularly made trips with the Missouri Tigers’ basketball team has been indicted by a federal grand jury of four counts of drug distribution, alleging conspiracy to sell large quantities of cocaine and marijuana.

Levi McLean Franklin Coolley traveled with the team a number of times as a guest of Jay Lindner, a Missouri-based real estate developer and major donor to the Tiger program.

Coolley, who owns a stereo shop, was on team flights to destinations that included Idaho, Arizona, New York, and Washington D.C. between 2009 and 2011.

He was arrested in an Omaha, Neb., hotel room, hours before Missouri’s 2012 NCAA tournament loss to Norfolk State. An internal review by the school concluded that Coolley had no improper influence on the team.

“We conducted a review, and we were comfortable with the results,” Missouri spokesman Chad Moller told the Associated Press. “It’s very concerning, and very troubling to hear that people who come around your program be accused of this type of thing. At a basic level, you try to trust that people are doing the right thing. But it’s impossible to know the background of everybody.”

Coolley is one of 16 people who face charges in the federal investigation. He and others are awaiting trial dates.

The link between Coolley and the Missouri program was first reported Sunday by the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Missouri finished last season with a 30-5 overall record under first-year head coach Frank Haith and will be moving to the SEC for the 2012-13 season.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_