Owen Hanson of ODOG Enterprises Pleads Guilty to Illegal Gambling and Drug Charges
Owen Hanson, a 34-year old former USC Trojans football player, pleaded guilty to running an international illegal gambling ring in Southern California. The sentencing phase of the trial has not begun, but Hanson faces up to 20 years in prison on racketeering conspiracy and drug-trafficking conspiracy cherges.
In entering his guilty plea, Owen Hanson agreed to hand over $5 million in forfeitures and all other property paid for with illegal profits. The property is thought to be worth millions of dollars.
Considering Withdrawing His Plea
The guilty plea might not last long. Hanson has been corresponding with a VICE Sports deputy editor while in jail awaiting trial. On Wednesday, Hanson claimed to the deputy editor he had been a victim of a “bait-and-switch” operation and he wanted to withdraw his plea.
According to the San Diego Tribune, Hanson wrote VICE Sports to say, “The new plea they made me sign in court yesterday will not stand, they added a mandatory minimum I never agreed to — and was pressured to sign it without reviewing with my family. It was a travesty of justice, protocol and trust.”
ODOG Enterprises Investigation
If the guilty plea were withdrawn, it would be the latest in a series of bizarre sideplots in the ODOG Enterprises case. One accuser claimed Hanson’s accomplices terrorized him by desecrating the accuser’s father’s grave. The case involves over 20 different accused, while famed sports athletes like Jeremy Shockey have had to distance themselves from ODOG.
Owen Hanson Profile
Owen Hanson grew up in Redondo Beach, where he was a football star. He walked-on to the football team at the University of Southern California in 2004, at the height of the Pete Carroll era at USC. The Trojans — led by Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and Lendale White — were coming off a split national championship with LSU that year, and would win another national title in Hanson’s first season with the team.
After leaving USC, Owen Hanson became a real estate developer. He parlayed his connections to a prestigious college football team to make friends with a variety of pro athletes. According to the U.S. Attorneys Office in San Diego, Hanson also began an international drug and gambling ring around the same time.
Jeremy Shockey about Owen Hanson
While pretending to be a legitimate real estate developer, Owen Hanson befriended retired athletes like Jeremy Shockey. The two made interantional business trips together. Jeremy Shockey told the New York Post after Hanson’s arrest, “I thought he was in the real-estate business like me.”
Shockey said Hanson was well-liked within the crowd of former athlete/businessmen he knew. The former Giants tight end said, “I thought he was a very smart, nice guy. He was single. He was so cool. He was on the phone all the time. He knew everybody — DJs, celebrities.”
“Pete Carroll knows him. Reggie Bush knows him; they were teammates at USC. This guy had money. He had cash on him all the time. But I thought it was from his business. No one knew any of this s–t was going on.”
Arrest on a Golf Course
In September 2015, Owen Hanson was arrested at Carlsbad’s Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club. Eventually, 22 other people were arrested in connection to the ODOG Enterprises investigation. Federal, state, and local law enforcement in five states participated in the raids.
Use of Enforcers
It was the use of enforcers which got much of the attention when Owen Hanson was arrested. Men with names like Giovanni “Tank” Brandolino and Jack “Animal” Rissell were alleged to be a part of the international crime ring. For instance, the plea agreements of Owen Hanson and Jack Rissell each refer to a time Hanson send Rissell to Minnesota to assault a client who owned gambling debts.
Prosecutors accused Owen Hanson of running a major operation. It is thought he sold over a ton of cocaine. With that kind of volume, it is highly likely a drug dealer would have ties to international crime rings, including the Mexican cartels. Federal prosecutors noted that Hanson was building a home in Cabo San Lucas at the time of his arrest. He also had a fake Mexican ID, and his Mexican in-laws are suspected of having ties to drug suppliers in Mexico.
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