Deondre Francois became the subject of a two-month drug investigation after Tallahassee police received a tip and believed the Florida State quarterback possessed marijuana with the intent to sell, according to a search warrant obtained by the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday.
The anonymous male tipster, who was inside Francois’s apartment in late February, said he saw a large paper grocery-type bag full of cannabis, which TPD estimated at about two pounds, present during a drug-related crime.
The tip led to an investigation in which TPD collected and examined the contents of Francois’ curbside garbage on four separate occasions.
But when TPD concluded its investigation of Francois last Thursday, an executed search warrant conducted at his apartment yielded just 17 grams of marijuana among other items.
Francois, a former Orlando Olympia High standout, was not arrested and offered the chance to participate in a pre-trial diversion program after the search. He was not expected to play in FSU’s spring game last week and was present on the sidelines for the game.
New FSU football coach Willie Taggart said he met with Francois and discussed the matter, which the team was handling internally.
“He’s still with our football team,” Taggart said after FSU’s spring game.
“ … We talked about his responsibility as a student athlete here, and he understands my expectations and what I’m looking for, especially when it comes to our quarterback.”
Francois worked this spring in a limited fashion while recovering from a knee injury he suffered last season.
He was trying to impress his new coach while TPD was investigating his life off the field.
Francois’ garbage was collected and examined on Feb. 27, a date in the beginning of March, March 27 and April 3, according to the search warrant.
The location of Francois’ home prevented TPD from conducting constant surveillance, according to the warrant. But TPD believed the discarded garbage showed evidence of ongoing criminal activity at Francois’s apartment.
During the inspections, twice at Francois’ apartment and twice with garbage taken to police headquarters, police found documents with Francois’ name, plastic bags with cannabis residue and the emptied contents of blunt-type cigars.
When TPD conducted its search of Francois’ apartment on Thursday, during which his girlfriend Diamond Lindsey was present, police smelled marijuana coming from inside the apartment and found the 17 grams of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia less than two feet from Francois’ bed.
Francois told police the marijuana belonged to Lindsey, he “can’t smoke right now” and said the last time he used marijuana was in December 2017.
Among the contents TPD found in Francois’ garbage and during their Thursday apartment search: multiple plastic bags with cannabis residue, innards of blunt cigars, a Bob Marley grinder, an instant drug test cup, three vials of pain medication, two iPads with broken screens, three iPhones and an FSU student ID card for running back Zaquandre White.A Leon County judge approved the eight-page search warrant on April 6.
In the diversion program, Francois will be required to do community service and avoid any criminal activity for a period of anywhere from three months to a year. He must also pay a cost of $100 for prosecution to the state attorney’s office. He could also be asked to participate in a substance abuse program.
Taggart hopes Francois, who continues to recover from a torn patellar tendon of his left knee, can make better decisions while preparing to compete for FSU’s starting quarterback job next season.
“He’s got to be smart about who he’s around and what he’s around, and make good decisions,” Taggart said. “I advise him to just make sure he’s around his teammates all the time.”