The Drug Enforcement Administration is investigating allegations made against a Saints senior staff member for theft of prescription Vicodin pills from the team's training headquarters.
"The DEA was referred this case, and there is a pending investigation," said Special Agent Roberto Bryan Jr., a New Orleans-based spokesman for the DEA.
The allegations were made by former Saints security director Geoffrey Santini in a civil lawsuit filed Friday. Santini resigned his position with the team last August, and he is seeking back pay.
The Saints say the charges are false and represent an effort by Santini to shake down the team.
In a team-issued statement, New Orleans head coach Sean Payton said he had never abused or stolen Vicodin, which is used to alleviate pain. Although Payton wasn't named in the lawsuit, his statement came after an anonymous source said he was the unidentified person in the lawsuit who was allowed to take a large quantity of Vicodin from the team's drug locker. Nothing illegal was alleged about that action.
On the other hand, the suit charges that a senior staff member used a trainer's key to steal Vicodin from the drug locker. According to a source who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, that staff member was LB coach Joe Vitt, whose actions were reportedly caught by video surveillance. Vitt didn't reply to an e-mail sent by the AP regarding the allegations.
Santini says in the lawsuit that he was told to keep quiet about the incident and that two team trainers falsified the entries in the official log to show that the Vicodin had been properly dispensed.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league has a copy of the lawsuit and is watching the developments in the case.
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