COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri football defensive end Nate Howard was charged Thursday afternoon with a Class D felony after he was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of possession of psilocybin mushrooms.
Howard, a junior from St. Louis, has been suspended indefinitely from the team, according to football team spokesman Chad Moller.
Howard remained in Boone County Jail as of Thursday afternoon. Bond was set at $4,500 for the felony charge. The maximum punishment for a Class D felony is up to seven years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“We are aware of the situation, and are addressing it internally,” Moller said in a text message Thursday morning. “Nate is suspended indefinitely.”
Howard was arrested by the University of Missouri Police Department around 7 p.m. Wednesday following a traffic stop on South Providence Road after an officer spotted Howard driving with a temporary license plate that expired in June 2016, according to the probable cause statement filed.
The officer wrote in the probable cause statement that she smelled marijuana emanating from the vehicle, and Howard responded: "It's from my breath. I smoked about 30 minutes ago."
The officers searched the vehicle and, according to the probable cause statement, found a plastic bag of containing the butts of marijuana joins and, in the trunk of the vehicle, found a plastic bag containing mushrooms that tested positive for psilocybin, a psychedelic compound.
He was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance (psilocybin mushrooms), possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana and failure to register his vehicle. Possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana is a Class D misdemeanor, carrying a maximum punishment of a $500 fine and no jail time.
The lone charge filed by Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Spencer Bartlett on Thursday pertained to the psilocybin mushroom possession.
Howard has a prior drug conviction from 2015, according to the probable cause statement. There are no online court records pertaining to such a case in Missouri.
University policy states that any athlete facing felony charges will remain suspended until a judgment is reached in the case. If the athlete pleads guilty to the felony charge or is convicted of the felony, the athlete is permanently barred from competing in athletics for any school in the University of Missouri system.
The team's summer workouts began last week. Howard was one of Missouri's top-performing defensive ends in spring camp.
A knee injury sidelined Howard during the first half of last season. He played in four of the final five games and made three tackles. As a freshman, Howard appeared in 11 games and made 12 tackles.
Howard said in April that he hoped to earn a starting defensive end spot opposite Marcell Frazier.
"I personally believe with what I’m doing and how I go about taking care of things, at the end of the day, no doubt I should be the guy,” he said then.