Feds: Ex-NFL player executed by drug dealers

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit – An accused drug dealer charged Thursday with killing former NFL player Robert Eddins mourned the standout defensive end on Facebook after allegedly shooting him to death.

This photo shows ex-NFL player Robert Eddins, left, and his accused killer Michael Griffin, right. The photo was posted to Griffin’s Facebook page on Dec. 20, 2016, the day Eddins was killed.

Michael DeAngelo Griffin posted a tribute to Eddins on Facebook on Dec. 20, 2016, the same day the former football player’s body was found in a basement on Detroit’s west side. The photo was shared on Facebook by the ex-NFL player’s mom, Bridgett Eddins.

“Man I can’t take this I love u lil Cuzz,” Griffin posted.

Griffin, 34, of Birmingham, Alabama, was indicted alongside two other men and accused of killing Eddins while dealing heroin and cocaine.

The indictment helped clarify circumstances surrounding the mysterious deaths of Eddins, 28, and Ricardo McFarlin, 32, more than one year ago. The men were executed and their bodies found in the basement of a home in the 7900 block of Pierson on Detroit’s west side.

The men died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office.

The two other men indicted Thursday are:

■Clifton Dennis Epps, 30, of Amory, Mississippi.

■Mariano Lozoya Garcia, 47, of Brownsville, Texas.

Robert Eddins

The three men are in custody and will be brought to Detroit to face charges. They face up to life in prison if convicted of murder, drug and weapons charges listed in the 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 three men traveled from Alabama to Detroit to kill Eddins and McFarlin during a period in which the trio was distributing cocaine and heroin, according to the indictment.

“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.

Griffin is from Detroit and worked at an Alabama rap label, according to social media posts, and is a convicted felon. He was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison in 2006, according to court records.

Griffin and Epps were arrested in Louisiana 15 days after Eddins was killed.

Robert Eddins played one regular-season game for the Buffalo Bills in 2011.

Griffin, Epps and a third man were stopped by a Louisiana State Police trooper while riding in a rented 2016 Dodge Charger about an hour’s drive from New Orleans on Jan. 4, 2017, according to court records and interviews.

“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.

After the Dodge Charger was returned to the rental company, an employee found a loaded pistol under the driver’s seat. It is unclear whether the pistol was linked to the Detroit homicides.

Eddins, a Detroit Crockett High School product, 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.

At Ball State, Eddins played most of his time under head coach Brady Hoke, who went on to coach the University of Michigan from 2011 to 2014. Eddins had 167 tackles and 17 sacks in four seasons with the Cardinals.

Eddins’ relatives could not be reached for comment Thursday.


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