Celtics guard Sebastian Telfair was arrested early yesterday after police found a loaded handgun in his car when he was stopped for speeding on the Bronx River Parkway, according to Westchester County (N.Y.) police spokesman Kieran O'Leary. The incident occurred shortly before 4 a.m. in Yonkers, when police clocked Telfair driving northbound at 77 miles per hour in a 45-m.p.h. zone in his 2006 Land Rover.
After being pulled over, Telfair produced a suspended Florida driver's license and gave police addresses in White Plains, N.Y., and his hometown of Brooklyn. Upon searching the vehicle, officer Adrian Camacho found a loaded .45-caliber Colt semiautomatic handgun under the front passenger seat.
Telfair and passenger Al Eden Fuentes were charged with felony second-degree possession of a weapon. Under New York state law, when drugs or weapons are found in a car, everybody in the vehicle is charged with the related offense, unless a single person admits it belongs to him.
According to Telfair's attorney, Ed Hayes, the gun is not registered in Telfair's name, though the attorney would not comment beyond that regarding the gun.
In addition to the gun charge, Telfair faces a misdemeanor charge of second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. He was issued summonses for speeding and driving without a license.
"He was very polite," said O'Leary. "He was very cooperative with our officers. They described him as behaving like a gentleman."
Telfair was arraigned yesterday afternoon in Yonkers City Court. Assistant district attorney Mark Garretto handled the arraignment and asked for $25,000 bail, but the judge imposed $7,500. When reached last night, Hayes presumed Telfair made bail. Telfair's next court date is May 17.
"We're very disappointed that Sebastian Telfair has put himself in this position," said Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck in a statement released by the team. "We are taking this situation very seriously and are continuing to gather information on the matter. Our players have been explicitly warned this season about the consequences of violating the law, as well as league and team policies regarding handguns. There will be significant consequences for any violation of these policies. We will closely monitor developments and take the appropriate action once we have all the facts."
This is the third time in little more than a year that Telfair has made headlines for the wrong reasons. In February 2006, Telfair was fined an undisclosed amount by the Portland Trail Blazers after a loaded gun registered to his future wife was found on the team's charter at Hanscom Field in Bedford. Last October, police questioned Telfair about the shooting of rapper Fabolous.
His attorney cautioned against a rush to judgment this time.
"He's never been arrested before," said Hayes. "He came from total poverty and made enormous sacrifices for his family and I think that entitles him to the benefit of the doubt from the public as to what really happened here."
Considering Telfair did not play up to expectations this season, then was arrested with the offseason barely under way, he may have played his last game in a Boston uniform.
Shira Springer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.