NFL star's water bottle draws suspicion at MIASecurity screeners at Miami International Airport called police after Michael Vick left a water bottle that smelled of marijuana.
By EVAN S. BENN
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was reluctant to throw away his water bottle at a Miami International Airport security checkpoint Wednesday morning.
The reason, police say: The 20-ounce plastic bottle had a secret compartment that had a dark residue and a pungent odor of marijuana. Vick boarded his 8:20 a.m. AirTran flight to Atlanta before screeners called police. Now, Miami-Dade police are examining the bottle and could charge him if it tests positive for drugs.
Police notified the National Football League about the investigation, Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS4 reported. Joel Segal, Vick's agent, declined to comment late Wednesday.
According to a Miami-Dade police report, here's what happened:
Vick, 26, balked when security at the Concourse G checkpoint asked him to surrender his water bottle, which had an Aquafina label. Security regulations prohibit travelers from carrying bottles with more than 3 ounces of liquid through checkpoints.
Eventually, Vick left the bottle behind and went to his gate. But his initial reluctance aroused the suspicion of Transportation Security Administration screener Gertrude Joseph. She pulled the bottle out of a recycle bin and notified her supervisor when she discovered its hidden compartment.
Screeners told police they recognized Vick as the pro football player, and they were certain it was his water bottle because they saw him throw it away and it was the only water bottle in the recycle bin.
Miami-Dade police reviewed surveillance video from the checkpoint and said it corroborated the screeners' version of events. They also confirmed Vick was a passenger on AirTran Flight 338 from Miami to Atlanta.
The bottle had a clear partition in the middle, separating the bottle into two compartments. An online spy-equipment retailer lists an Aquafina Water Bottle Diversion Safe for $15. ''It has room for more than just water,'' according to metrospysupply.com. ``Twist and pull the bottle in half to reveal a hidden compartment.''
In his report, Miami-Dade Det. Kevin Kozak wrote: ``The concealed compartment contained a small amount of dark particulate and a pungent aroma closely associated with marijuana. The top half contained a small amount of clear liquid. When held upright the bottle appeared to be half full of water.''
Vick, the top NFL draft pick in 2001, is the older brother of Miami Dolphins wide receiver Marcus Vick and second cousin of Oakland Raiders quarterback Aaron Brooks.
Vick is known for his ability to elude defenders and make dazzling runs. He is third on the NFL's all-time rushing list for quarterbacks, running for more than 1,000 yards this past season.
Vick is two years into a 10-year, $130 million contract with the Falcons.
Vick made headlines when he flipped his middle finger to booing fans after a Nov. 26 home loss to the New Orleans Saints. The league fined him $10,000, and he agreed to give another $10,000 to charity.
Miami Herald staff writers Armando Salguero and Gladys Amador, and Brian Andrews, a reporter with Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS4, contributed to this report.