IOWA CITY, Iowa — Standout Iowa receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos made his initial court appearance Wednesday on drug charges that have shocked Hawkeye fans and left his future in doubt.
Johnson-Koulianos, Iowa's all-time leading receiver and a fan favorite nicknamed "DJK," is not accused of dealing drugs. But he is charged with allowing drugs to be used "and likely sold" from his home in a quiet neighborhood several blocks from campus, and with possession of small amounts of cocaine and marijuana. Police say he tested positive and admitted using both.
Decked out in big glasses and sports jacket over a turtleneck, Johnson-Koulianos smiled for photographers as he entered the Johnson County courtroom, but later grew much more somber. He stood with his hands behind his back as Judge Stephen Gerard read the seven charges against him and the potential jail time — up to 7 1/2 years — and fines he faces. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing and an arraignment date was not immediately scheduled.
He walked out of the courthouse without commenting and left in a car driven by defense attorney John Beasley, who also declined comment.
The 23-year-old receiver and his roommate, 21-year-old Brady Cooper Johnson, were charged on Tuesday after police officers raided their Iowa City home. Johnson-Koulianos was released after posting $8,000 bond. Johnson made his initial appearance by video from the jail, where he was later released on $14,500 bond. The two are not related.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz suspended Johnson-Koulianos from team activities after learning of the arrest, which came as Iowa begins to prepare to play Missouri in the Insight Bowl on Dec. 28.
Johnson-Koulianos, a senior from Campbell, Ohio, received first-team all-Big Ten honors from the conference's coaches last month. He finished the regular season with 46 receptions for 745 yards and 10 touchdowns, becoming Iowa's career leader in receptions and receiving yards in the process. He was the first player ever to lead the Hawkeyes in receiving his first three seasons.
Police say they found marijuana, more than $3,000 in cash, a digital scale and other items used to sell drugs throughout the residence. The player's roommate, Johnson, was accused of "selling large amounts of marijuana" in a criminal complaint, and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and other charges.
The complaint against Johnson-Koulianos does not accuse him of dealing drugs. Instead, it says officers located cocaine residue, "small quantities of marijuana" in his bedroom, and a variety of legal painkillers and muscle relaxers for which he did not have prescriptions.
The complaint said Johnson-Koulianos agreed to take a urine test and tested positive for cocaine and marijuana.
He allegedly told officers he had used drugs and they obtained "electronic media" showing him possessing cocaine. He told police he got the pills from friends and took some to relieve pain.
Johnson-Koulianos is charged with keeping a drug house because "he knew drugs were being used and likely sold out of the residence," the complaint said. That charge can be filed against anyone who knowingly allows their residence to be used to do, store and sell drugs. He is also charged with possession of cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs.
Iowa graduate Brian Rorris, 25, said he was surprised to walk into the home while officers were carrying out the warrant Tuesday and was immediately handcuffed. He said he is friends with Brady Johnson, and the two had been planning to take their dogs to a nearby park.
Rorris said officers inventoried the drugs and seized electronic equipment such as video game consoles and cell phones. Rorris, who was released after officers searched him and his vehicle, said Johnson-Koulianos cooperated with police and told officers he "didn't want any sort of trouble."
"I think he was a little bit shell-shocked," Rorris said. "I just feel really bad for him. It just sounds so much worse than it really is."