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By Mike Johnson on 2011-09-09 16:13:52
The Fayetteville Observer, in reporting on the Jeff Hardy plea deal that went down yesterday, noted that a meeting with a fan in Florida is what began a series of events that led to Hardy's arrest.

After a match in Florida, Thomas Ray Cruz, 31, met Hardy and offered to supply him with pain pills, Hardy's attorney Jeff Van Camp, told the Judge presiding over Hardy's case yesterday. Van Camp stated that Hardy turned to painkillers to deal with the effects of his physical wrestling style.

Cruz sent a coffee can full of pills via FedEx to Hardy, but when they arrived at the distribution center in Fayetteville, NC, it was flagged as a suspicious package. Police were called and then allowed it to be delivered. Once Hardy signed for the package, police raided Hardy's home, arresting him.

Cruz was arrested in Moore County in November 2010 on charges of conspiracy to traffic in opium and two counts of trafficking in opium. He is currently free on $50,000 bond but has a November court date in Moore County.

As noted yesterday, a number of charges were dropped in exchange for Hardy's plea bargain deal. Hardy will serve ten days in jail, pay a $100,000 fine and serve 30 months probation after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and one count of conspiracy to traffic in a substance containing opium.

Hardy could have been sentenced to 20-33 months in prison, but the Judge suspended his sentence on the condition that Hardy adhere to his probation and drug rehabilitation.

Hardy officially returned to TNA TV last night and will be on the road for the company shortly.

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