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Dysart Willis

Former North Carolina star athlete faces prison after drug bust

The biggest songs of the year were by Prince ("When Doves Cry"), Tina Turner ("What's Love Got to Do With It") and Kenny Loggins ("Footloose.") The most popular movies of the year included "The Terminator" and "Ghostbusters." When you add all those old-school titles up, it comes to 1984, of course.

That was also the year that North Carolina resident Curtis "Cowboy" Crandall won the world's Super Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Championship. He celebrated with Hollywood celebrities and sports stars. But most of all, Crandall celebrated with cocaine. His love of the drug has repeatedly gotten him into serious legal trouble.

The former star athlete was recently sentenced to 7 years minimum in a North Carolina prison after he pleaded guilty to selling cocaine. According to a recent news article, this was the 19th time he's been sentenced to serve time behind prison bars.

Since he won his world championship in Reno in 1984, he has been convicted of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, assault, robbery, driving while impaired, larceny and breaking and entering, the state's Department of Corrections says.

Speaking in jail to a reporter, the former kickboxer said that cocaine "ruined my life." He first started experimenting with the drug when he was a young star on the rise. He said that it took him quite awhile to understand how deeply he was involved in the drug culture.

"I didn't even know I was gone until I got arrested," Crandall said.

His most recent arrest had its genesis in front of a Greenville grocery store. An informant apparently approached Crandall and asked if the former athlete knew where he could buy cocaine. A short while later, Crandall took the man's money, bought some coke inside a house and handed the man 1.3 grams of cocaine.

Now Crandall is looking at about 7 and a half to a decade behind bars. The moral of his story, he says, is to stay away from drugs. Don't even try them.

Far too often, drug addicts wind up serving prison time. If you face that possibility, speak to an attorney experienced in protecting rights and freedom with effective drug-crime defense.