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Noelle Bush caught with crack cocaine

yeah, baby.
Sept. 10, 2002 | ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Jeb Bush's 25-year-old daughter was found with what was believed to be crack cocaine at a rehabilitation center, police said Tuesday. If confirmed, it would be her second lapse since entering court-ordered drug treatment.

Police were called to the Center for Drug Free Living in Orlando late Monday, where workers gave them a "white, rocklike substance" they said they found in Noelle Bush's shoe, Police Sgt. Orlando Rolon said.

The 0.2-gram rock tested positive for cocaine in a police field test, but Bush wasn't immediately arrested because police couldn't obtain sworn statements from people at the center, Rolon said.

Police said staffers at the center tried to persuade the officer to let the matter be handled in-house and didn't cooperate by providing statements. The officer originally had been summoned by a patient, police said.

A spokeswoman for the center, Joan M. Ballard, refused to comment.

Possession of any amount of cocaine is a felony.

The investigation will continue, said Rolon, who added that police hadn't interviewed Noelle Bush as of late morning.

The governor, asked about his daughter before going into a Florida Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee, said he wouldn't discuss her situation.

"This is a private issue as it relates to my daughter and myself and my wife," he said. "The road to recovery is a rocky one for a lot of people that have this kind of problem. I don't have any details about what happened. I just found out."

Noelle Bush was arrested in January at a Tallahassee pharmacy drive-through window for allegedly trying to buy the anti-anxiety drug Xanax with a fraudulent prescription.

She was admitted to the treatment center a month later, with the possibility charges would be dropped if she completed the program.

But in July, she was found to be in contempt of court because a worker at the treatment center found her carrying prescription pills, which belonged to another worker and had been taken from a cabinet. Circuit Judge Reginald Whitehead sent her to jail for three days.

Karen Levey, a spokeswoman for the court, said if Noelle Bush violates a drug court contract, Whitehead could sanction her with more jail time.

But State Attorney's Office spokesman Randy Means added that if Bush is charged with drug possession, she could be kicked out of her treatment program. She could then face punishment for the Tallahassee crime as well as any Orlando case.

Drug prescription fraud, as in the Tallahassee case, is a third-degree felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted. As a first offender, she could face far less than the maximum, however.

Bush's lawyer, Dean Cannon, did not return calls seeking comment.

At a brief hearing last month, Whitehead encouraged Bush to "hang in there" after she expressed concerns about the treatment program, adding, "You're getting that much closer to completing the program." The nature of her concerns was not made public.



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