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Report: Two Montana State Football Players Arrested On Felony Drug Charges

Two Montana State football players have been suspended from the program and are facing felony drug charges.

Naijiel Hale, 21, and Darren Gardenhire, 20, were arrested according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Per the paper, Hale is facing two counts of felony distribution of dangerous drugs and Gardenhire is facing one count of the same charge. Hale is also charged with a misdemeanor count of possession.

Both players, along with a third MSU student, Christopher Flanagan, are accused of selling Xanax. Both players have also been suspended from the football program.

Originally, both Hale and Gardenhire began their careers playing for the University of Washington.

From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

In February, a confidential informant with the Missouri River Drug Task Force set up a purchase of Xanax, a prescription anxiety medication, from Hale.

However, just before the informant was to meet with Hale, Hale instructed the informant to meet with his “brother” instead.

The informant then met with Gardenhire and purchased Xanax from him at an apartment close to MSU’s campus, all while drug task force investigators watched.


During an interview with investigators, Gardenhire said that his roommate, Hale, was dealing Xanax, but he was not.

In a second incident in February, Hale arranged another deal for multiple Xanax pills at his home.

Hale was a four-star cornerback recruit in the class of 2014 who originally signed with Washington. He appeared in 14 games with the Huskies in 2014, making 12 tackles and breaking up a pair of passes.

After transferring to Montana State and sitting out the 2015 season, Hale only played in two games in 2016 due to injuries.

Gardenhire was a three-year contributor for the Huskies. Most recently, he played in 11 games for the Huskies in 2016 before leaving the team in November. For the season, Gardenhire recorded 13 tackles, two pass breakups, one interception, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

He transferred to Montana State in January.