Former NFL linebacker Robert Eddins was shot to death in a basement by a trio of drug dealers, according to officials.
Eddins and another man, Ricardo McFarlin, were murdered “execution style” in the 2016 shooting at his grandmother’s home in Detroit, the Detroit News reports.
More than a year later, officials charged three men on Thursday in connection with the murders: Michael Griffin, Dennis Epps and Mariano Garcia.
Officials said all three men were part of a plot to deal more than five kilos of cocaine and heroin. Prosecutors added that the suspects traveled from Alabama to Detroit specifically to kill Eddins; they also killed the other man in the process.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office reports that the men died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Accused drug dealer and killer Griffin mourned the loss of the standout defensive player on Facebook after he allegedly shot Eddins to death. He posted a tribute to Eddins on Dec. 20, 2016, the same day the former football player’s body was found in a basement.
“Man I can’t take this I love you lil Cuzz,” Griffin posted alongside a a photo shared on Facebook by Eddin’s mother, Bridgett Eddins.
Griffin and the two other suspects were taken into custody Thursday and will be taken to Detroit to face charges. They face up to life in prison if convicted of murder, drug and weapons charges listed in their six-count indictment.
“We hope to bring justice for the families of the deceased men and dismantle all organizations that spread these deadly poisons in our neighborhoods,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement.
The indictment states that the three men traveled to Detroit to kill Eddins and McFarlin during a time in which they were distributing cocaine and heroin.
“The murders of Eddins and McFarlin is just another example of how violence is intertwined with drug trafficking,” Timothy Plancon, special agent in charge of the Detroit field office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said in a statement.
Just 15 days after Eddins was killed, Griffin and Epps were arrested in Louisiana after they and a third man were stopped by a state trooper on an unknown suspicion.
“The trooper noticed that the driver, front seat passenger, and (Griffin) were nervous and gave conflicting trip itineraries,” U.S. Probation Officer Barry Burton wrote in a court filing.
Inside the car, investigators found more than one kilogram of heroin hidden near the rear quarter panel of the vehicle.0comments
After their Dodge Charger was returned to the rental company, an employee found a loaded pistol under the driver’s seat. It is unclear whether the weapon was linked to Eddins’ killing.
Eddins, 28, played football at Ball State University before a brief stint as a defensive end with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. He played one game for the Bills as an undrafted rookie in 2011.