Prosecutors dismiss gambling charges against 4 ex-Iowa State athletes, including Broncos' Eyioma Uwazurike

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 27: Denver Broncos defensive tackle Eyioma Uwazurike (96) during an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers on November 27, 2022, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The illegal gambling charges against three former Iowa State football players and a former Iowa State wrestler have been dropped because of the way the evidence was gathered in the case.

Attorneys for former football players Jirehl Brock, Isaiah Lee and Eyioma Uwazurike and wrestler Paniro Johnson had argued that the way that Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation inappropriately obtained evidence that the men were making sports wagers by geofencing areas around Iowa State’s campus to investigate potential underage gambling.

On Friday, the state dismissed all of the charges against the athletes with prejudice.

“On February 27, 2024, the defendant sent the undersigned a letter detailing newly discovered evidence obtained through an open records request to the Iowa Racing and Gaming commission,” the statement dismissing the charges said.

“The evidence showed that GeoComply, provider of the Kibana product used in these investigations, believed DCI exceeded the scope of its permitted use in using the Kibana product in October of 2023.”

“The evidence further established that GeoComply revoked DCI’s use of the Kibana product on January 24, 2024, due to concerns that DCI ‘may’ have exceeded the scope of its permitted use.”

Uwazurike was a fourth-round pick of the Denver Broncos in the 2022 NFL draft and recorded 17 total tackles in his rookie season. He missed the 2023 season after the NFL suspended him indefinitely. Prosecutors had said that Uwazurike had bet on Broncos games during his rookie season.

The four were part of a larger gambling probe into alleged betting activity by athletes at Iowa State and Iowa. Though Uwazurike was suspended for betting on the NFL as an NFL player, he was also being investigated for bets he made while at Iowa State. Over his rookie season, he had been accused of making 32 bets on the Broncos over five games.

The dismissed charges do not affect plea deals other players took relating to the case. Iowa State QB Hunter Dekkers was among four athletes who agreed to a reduced charge of underage gambling in September. As part of their plea deal, they received a fine and no other penalties. Dekkers did not play during the 2023 season.

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