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Ex-Kansas City Chiefs player found dead in Leavenworth Jail awaiting trial

Former Chiefs defensive tackle Saousoalii “Junior” Siavii was found dead Thursday afternoon in a Leavenworth jail while awaiting trial on federal criminal charges related to drug trafficking and illegal possession of weapons fire.

Siavii, 43, was found unresponsive at Leavenworth U.S. Penitentiary around 2:35 p.m., Anna Armijo, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, said in a statement. He was treated by prison staff and taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Few details were immediately released about the circumstances surrounding his death. Armijo said no staff or other inmates were injured and “at no time was the public in danger”.

On Dec. 17, Siavii was transferred to Leavenworth medium-security prison, which has recently seen numerous prisoner transfers following the end of a federal contract with a nearby private facility run by CoreCivic. Siavii has been held under federal detention orders since 2019.

Siavii was arrested in August 2019 on suspicion of illegal possession of firearms during a fight with police officers in Independence. A criminal indictment later named Siavii as part of a methamphetamine drug trafficking conspiracy in the Western District of Missouri. He was charged alongside eight other co-defendants.

The Chiefs drafted Siavii with the 36th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, and before donning the uniform, he called himself an unblockable in the running game.

It didn’t turn out that way. He had just 15 tackles and one sack in two seasons before knee injuries cut short his NFL career. After three seasons out of the league, he returned to one-year stints at Dallas and Seattle.

Siavii was born in American Samoa, where he attended high school before moving to the United States and playing junior college football. He eventually landed in Oregon, where his height (6-foot-5, 320 pounds) appeared on film and caught the attention of Chiefs scouts.

The Star’s Cortlynn Stark contributed to this report.

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