Casto suspended, pleads not guilty in pot case

Washington State's DeAngelo Casto pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession.

Pullman attorney Timothy Esser, who is representing Casto, filed the plea in Whitman County District Court. He also questioned the actions of police in the case, which left Casto suspended for Wednesday night's NIT quarterfinal game against Northwestern.

"This case is never going to get to first base," Esser told The Spokesman-Review on Wednesday. "This case will be dismissed. There was absolutely no compliance with constitutional privacy interest requirements."

Esser also filed a motion to suppress any evidence collected in a search of Casto's apartment early Tuesday.

Casto is the third prominent basketball player on the WSU team to be suspended this season after being cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Leading scorer Klay Thompson and point guard Reggie Moore earlier served one-game suspensions.

Esser talked with Washington State coach Ken Bone late Tuesday and asked that Casto's suspension be lifted.

Washington State assistant sports information director Jessica Schmick said Casto's indefinite suspension for violation of team rules remained.

The Cougars (21-12) host Northwestern (20-13) Wednesday, and Casto is their leading inside player, averaging 12 points and nearly seven rebounds per game. The winner advances to Tuesday's semifinal in New York City.

The latest incident began early Tuesday, after WSU's win over Oklahoma State in the second round of the NIT.

A Pullman police officer was on foot patrol near an apartment complex, and noticed a screen had been removed from an apartment window. As he approached, he said he saw a man inside the apartment who appeared to be rolling a marijuana cigarette, police said.

The officer smelled marijuana when Casto answered the door, police said. Police said Casto admitted to using the drug and handed over a small amount to the officer.

Later Tuesday, Casto was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

"I am disappointed in DeAngelo as he let himself and his teammates down," Bone said in a press release announcing the suspension.

The charges typically involve sentences of one day in jail and a fine that usually ranges between $250 and $500.