Danko Gets Suspended Sentence

July 26, 1997 12:00 AM ET

Following his arrest in early May for smuggling heroin into Japan, Rick Danko, singer and bassist for the Band, has been given a suspended sentence. Danko was on a five-show mini-tour in Japan when he received a package from his wife that contained the opiate.

During his trial, Danko told the Chiba District Court he had asked his wife to send him some cold medication for which he had a prescription; she instead hid heroin in a magazine and sent it to Danko via courier. The judge presiding over the trial rejected Danko's story, but still suspended the two and a half year sentence for five years.

Based on the judge's verdict, Danko may not be allowed to go back to Japan for a full year, according to Ron Rainey, Danko's personal manager. "When we talked to lawyers in the beginning, this is what we were hoping for, but right now I still don't have all the details," Rainey said. Danko is now out of prison and will return to the States soon, according to Rainey.

The musician has fought a heroin addiction in the past, but now after spending the last 10 1/2 weeks behind bars, he says he is clear-minded and has no intentions of falling into any bad habits, according to Rainey.

And while many people were disappointed when Robbie Robertson left the Band, Rainey says that he doesn't rule out the possibility of the group getting back together, but right now they have no plans.

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