Tywanne Aldridge ran from drugs, but even the Barcelona Drags couldn’t protect him from his dope-dealing uncle.

What a Drag 

Tywanne Aldridge ran from drugs, but even the Barcelona Drags couldn’t protect him from his dope-dealing uncle.

Page 4 of 10

Tywanne, meanwhile, was enjoying college life -- except for his financial problems. That fall, he was counting on getting a football scholarship to cover his tuition. He'd played a lot and had lettered the year before, and he'd worked hard in practice over the summer. But halfway through the semester, he learned he wouldn't be getting a scholarship. Coaches told him maybe next semester.

"His financial problems became bigger and bigger," Lewis says. "Money always seemed to be a focus for him." And, Lewis says, NCAA rules prohibited Tywanne from working a part-time job while he played ball.

Tywanne ignored the pain of a knee injury that season -- he'd torn a ligament but didn't have the money to get it fixed, friends say -- and focused on football. Playing on special teams, Tywanne earned respect for being a fast and fearless tackler. But the season started badly with a 38-14 pummeling at the hands of Notre Dame, and the Jayhawks finished in November with five wins and seven losses.

That winter, when Tywanne was again passed over for a scholarship, he quit the team so that he could work at Prairie on weekends.

"I couldn't keep up the bills at my house," he said later in court. "And my mom, my mom was going through her difficulties with drugs, and a lot of times I would have to watch my little brother and sister ... I could either be, you know, out there not making any money playing football and being happy, or I could accept my responsibility and, you know, watch my little brother and sister."

Castaneda was taking on new responsibilities, too. On January 10, 2000, he started his new job, meeting with FBI agents Richard Schoeberl and Rick Young, who had been assigned to keep tabs on him. He sat down with them for several two-hour sessions to tell them about everyone he knew who was involved in buying or selling drugs. They came up with a long list of names -- but Tywanne's wasn't on it. The agents also supplied Castaneda with cassettes and a tape recorder so he could collect evidence and, under their direction, arrange deals.

Later that month, Castaneda called Schoeberl. "By the way, there's another guy I didn't tell you about," Castaneda said, according to Schoeberl's later testimony. Castaneda said he had met Tywanne over the past summer but had forgotten about him until he saw Tywanne that winter at Rusty's bar in Shawnee.

"This guy Tywanne was asking me about keys of cocaine," Castaneda reported.

"Next time you talk to him on the phone, record a conversation with him about it," the agent replied.

Castaneda later admitted that he had considered anyone he served up to the feds to be months sliced off his own sentence. If he assisted the government enough, he might be able to work off the whole ten years-to-life sentence and end up with just probation.

By night, Castaneda roamed Johnson County prospecting for people to turn in -- and flouting the conditions of his bond, which required that he avoid illegal activity, maintain a curfew and check in regularly with his pretrial-services officer. Armed with his FBI-issued tape recorder, the underage Castaneda sneaked into bars -- Rusty's in Shawnee and By George's in Overland Park -- using his brother's ID. He sometimes got so drunk that he later had trouble remembering the evening's events.

He claimed in court that after hanging out with Tywanne one night and seeing him pull out a plastic bag of cocaine and weigh it on a digital scale, he'd forgotten to tell agents about it when he met with them just a few days later. He recalled the incident in time to describe it at Tywanne's trial, though. "It slipped my mind," he said in court. "I had an alcohol problem."

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