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Alice In Chains co-founder jailed in SLC on drug counts

Published February 18, 2011 1:41 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Michael Starr, a founding member of the Alice In Chains rock band and a recent participant in VH1's Celebrity Rehab show, has been arrested by Salt Lake City police and jailed for alleged drug possession.

Salt Lake County Jail records show that Starr, 44, remained in custody Friday in lieu of more than $20,000 bail on suspicion of two third-degree felony and one class B misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance.

According to a probable cause statement filed with 3rd District Court, Starr was arrested during a traffic stop after the van he was in crossed over a median about 1 a.m. Thursday near 1200 S. State St. in Salt Lake City.

Starr, a passenger in the van, is alleged to have been found with six Opana pills and six Alprazolam pills for which he did not have prescriptions.

Opana is a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic, while Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

One of the two arresting officers reported that Starr readily identified himself. "Hey officer, have you heard of Alice In Chains? I used to be the bass guitarist for them. We are down here in Utah . . . putting together a new band," he reportedly told police.

It was the second officer who confiscated a prescription bottle, with the name seemingly scratched off, after allegedly noticing Starr taking pills as officers approached the van.

Starr was handcuffed, arrested and jailed. The driver, identified as Travis Meeks, of Kentucky, was cited for driving on a suspended license and released.

It could not immediately be verified if the driver was the same Travis Meeks as the 31-year-old singer, guitarist and song writer for the acoustic rock band Days of the New.

Starr, who was bass player for Seattle-based Alice In Chains from 1987 to 1993, appeared on Celebrity Rehab in 2010 for treatment of a purported heroin addiction.

A court hearing was not immediately set for Starr.