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Champion Boxer Johnny Tapia Arrested

July 27, 2002

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ IBF featherweight champion Johnny Tapia was arrested Friday for failing to pay several traffic tickets.

``Johnny had gotten several tickets over the last 18 months, some were for speeding and some were for reckless driving,″ Teresa Tapia, the boxer’s wife and manager, said Friday in a telephone interview from the couple’s home in Las Vegas.

Tapia was not in custody late Friday, officials at the Las Vegas and Clark County jails said. Sgt. Rick Barela, a Las Vegas police spokesman, said he had no information on the case.

Teresa Tapia said the five-time world champion from Albuquerque tried to take care of the unpaid traffic citations about two weeks ago but was not allowed to do so when the couple went to a Las Vegas police station.

``Johnny and I went down there and he asked them if he could turn himself in,″ Tapia’s wife said. ``They said he had to be escorted by a police officer. Johnny told them, `That’s a first.‴

Teresa Tapia said she contacted an attorney the next day and was assured the matter would be taken care of.

``This morning, a police officer came to our door and arrested him,″ she said.

Teresa Tapia said the couple didn’t know until about two weeks ago that three arrest warrants had been issued on the misdemeanor charges.

``Johnny, I guess, just forgot about them,″ she said of the citations. ``We’ve been traveling, and the notices were being sent to our old address. We obviously didn’t get them.″

Tapia ran his record to 52-2-2 in April when he earned a unanimous decision over Manuel Medina to win the IBF title.

Teresa Tapia said Tapia was still asleep when police came Friday morning.

Update hourly