Owen Hanson during his USC days and afterwards.

Two brothers involved in importing and exporting chocolate were definitely big on surprise ingredients. On Thursday, Los Angeles-based brothers Nathan and Andrew Dulley admitted to sending massive quantities of cocaine to Australia in their shipments, and doing so as part of a “ODOG” drug-distribution network run by former USC football player Owen Hanson. Here’s more from Kristina Davis of The San Diego Union-Tribune:

On Thursday, the brothers, ages 34 and 36, admitted in San Diego federal court to sending large amounts of cocaine to Australia, where Hanson had secured a network to sell various drugs for enormous profit.

Authorities said that the Dulleys would often receive loads of 10 kilograms or more of cocaine from Hanson or his associates. The brothers would then mix the drugs with legitimate merchandise to slip the drugs through customs inspections.

Hanson pled guilty to racketeering and drug distribution charges last December, and picked up a 21-year prison sentence in the process. But before that, he was a walk-on tight end at USC with the famed 2004 and 2005 teams. And despite never playing a down for the Trojans, his associations there appeared to kick-start this whole giant enterprise, as per this 2016 Rolling Stone piece from David Amsden:

According to authorities, Hanson appears to have used his connections within the world of professional sports – first established back at USC and later fostered in the VIP rooms of Los Angeles clubs and Las Vegas casinos – to bolster his organization. Aside from hanging out with famous athletes while operating Betodog.com, a website that processed illegal wagers on their games, he is accused of coordinating the sale of five grams of cocaine and 15 capsules of ecstasy to “a professional football player” in 2014, according to the indictment; and among the 21 others arrested in January as alleged co-conspirators in Hanson’s scheme – a dizzying list of characters that includes an accused drug dealer nicknamed “Tank,” a bookie who went by “Jazzy,” an enforcer known as “Animal,” and a Hollywood private detective – is a former N.F.L. running back named Derek Loville. The winner of a Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers in 1994, and two more, in 1997 and 1998, with the Denver Broncos, he now stands accused of selling cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ecstasy as an Arizona-based member of Hanson’s alleged racket.

…If there is a period where Hanson began to exhibit certain tendencies that would later draw the attention of law enforcement – a hunger for power, a lust for money, an obsession with status – it is during his years at USC, where he entered the Los Angeles of wealth and extravagance that was just out of reach growing up. There, aside from playing on a football squad where Snoop Dogg was a regular at practices, Hanson was a member of Beta Theta Pi, a fraternity that was banned from pledging on campus. They briefly reformed as an underground society known for throwing wild parties called the Stumpos Raiders – so named, according to rumors, because they were raided by an LAPD officer with the last name Stumpos. It was in this realm that Hanson appears to have emerged as “O-Dog,” the campus hustler who was boys with the school’s athletic gods. “If you wanted something you went to O-Dog,” says someone familiar with the group. “Coke, steroids, you name it.”

In the end, this went south for Hanson when he funded gambler Robert Cipriani in an attempt to launder the money, then threatened Cipriani and his family after he got cold feet. Cipriani went to the FBI, and Hanson and others were arrested in 2015. But this is all a pretty remarkable story, and quite the tale of football-adjacent excess. The chocolate-associated smuggling may not even be the most bizarre football-related story about an unusual attempt to get drugs into Australia, though; that title still goes to Mark Clermont, the former Montreal Alouettes’ strength-and-conditioning staffer who was involved in a plot to import drugs (including 85.5 kilograms of pure cocaine and 192.9 kilograms of pure methylamphetamine) to Australia via hollowed-out steamrollers. What will people think of next?

[The San Diego Union-Tribune]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.