Authorities seized materials from the Omaha Beef football team as part of a crack cocaine investigation that began with the help of two former coaches, according to documents filed in federal court.
A search warrant was served after the delivery Wednesday of an Express Mail package to the Beef office at 1351 S. 20th St. The Beef, a minor league indoor football team, began play in Omaha in 2000.
The warrant was issued for a search of the team's 20th Street headquarters, team owner Jeff Sprowls' black 2006 Chrysler 300C with Missouri license plate "RAGE1" and Sprowls himself.
Sprowls has not been charged with a crime. Reached Friday, he said he had no comment.
A spokesman for U.S. postal inspectors said only that some items were taken when the warrant was executed. The list of items seized had not been filed with the court.
U.S. postal inspectors and members of the Omaha Police Department's narcotics unit served the warrant. They removed boxes of material from the Beef office.
Authorities were searching for records or ledgers related to the use or distribution of controlled substances, evidence of proceeds of illegal activity and evidence of possible narcotics contacts, postal inspector James Murcek said in a signed affidavit supporting the search warrant.
They also were seeking a specific Express Mail package that contained about three grams of crack cocaine.
That package was flagged by a St. Louis postal inspector who arranged for a drug-sniffing dog to check the package. A federal warrant was issued in Missouri to have that package searched. Once opened, a postal inspector found three grams of crack.
The package, which listed a sender's name that didn't match the given return address, was to be sent to the Omaha Beef in care of Peyton Sprowls.
The warrant says Peyton Sprowls is Jeff Sprowls' half-brother. Peyton Sprowls lives in San Diego and is not involved with the team.
The next day, Murcek conducted surveillance on the delivery of the package. He said he saw Jeff Sprowls meet with the mail carrier outside the office, sign for the package and then go back inside. About 15 minutes later, Sprowls left the office with nothing in his hands.
Since April 2010 more than 80 Express Mail envelopes were sent from St. Louis to the Omaha Beef address, according to the warrant.
The investigation began in March, Murcek said, after he was contacted by two former Beef coaches, Mike Davis and Pat Pimmel.
Pimmel is the former head coach, and both men coached for the Beef in 2010.
Murcek said in the affidavit that the two told him they saw Express and Priority Mail packages sent from St. Louis to the business on a weekly basis. The packages were addressed to the Beef and Peyton Sprowls.
According to the affidavit, Pimmel said he opened a package expecting to find a DVD from a player he was trying to recruit out of St. Louis. Instead of a DVD, Pimmel said, he saw chunks of white rocks "enough to fill a shot glass."
In an interview Friday, Pimmel adamantly disputed the statements attributed to him in the affidavit.
"I never contacted the postal service or law enforcement. I can't say a bad word about Jeff or the Omaha Beef," Pimmel said.
He said he left the team for a better-paying coaching position and continues to be on good terms with Sprowls.
Davis also disputed the statements in the affidavit, saying he never talked to law officers about a drug investigation. "I had nothing but a good experience working for (Sprowls)," he said.
World-Herald staff writer Sam Womack contributed to this report.
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