Tattoo Artist in Ohio State Scandal Charged With Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering

The tattoo artist who exchanged free tattoos for Ohio State memorabilia with Buckeye football players has been charged with drug trafficking and money laundering, according to federal prosecutors.

Tattoo parlor owner Edward Rife, whose barter of services for goods triggered what has become an ever-widening investigation into improper benefits at Ohio State, will likely enter into some kind of plea deal. Documents show Rife pleading guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of "conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 200 pounds of marijuana." This is probably a very good idea on the part of Rife and his defense team; these charges are federal, and federal prosecutors have a habit of being very serious about these things. (Ask Marion Jones about that.)

The investigation into Rife's shady business dealings is the very one mentioned in emails to Jim Tressel regarding an ongoing federal probe involving Buckeye football players, and the starting point for the series of garbled communications (and some say outright lies) between Jim Tressel, the Ohio State administration, and the NCAA regarding players receiving improper benefits.

Though you're probably going to jail, Mr. Rife, don't say you never accomplished anything. You may have helped unseat a seemingly unfireable coach at one of the nation's biggest football programs, and that certainly does qualify as something. (A big, messy, damaging something, but something nonetheless.)

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