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Monday November 27, 2000

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Actor Robert Downey Jr. arrested again for drug possession

By The Associated Press

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Robert Downey Jr. was arrested for drug possession nearly three months after being released from prison and relaunching his career, police said yesterday.

An anonymous caller led investigators to a resort hotel room Saturday night where they found the actor alone with cocaine and methanphetamine, Palm Springs police officer Ralph Landry said.

"He was conscious and conversed with the officers," Landry said. "He was very cooperative."

Downey, 35, was arrested for drug possession, being under the influence of a controlled substance and committing a felony while free on bail, he said.

He was released yesterday on $15,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court within 30 days, Landry said.

Telephone messages left by The Associated Press at his agent's offices were not immediately returned yesterday.

The actor told a judge last year that his drug addiction was "like I've got a shotgun in my mouth, with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal."

His legal troubles began in 1996 when he was stopped for speeding and authorities found cocaine, heroin and a pistol in his vehicle.

A month later he was found passed out in a neighbor's home and three days later, he was arrested for leaving a recovery center.

In August 1999, Downey was sentenced to three years in prison for violating his probation by missing scheduled drug tests. He was released a year later on $5,000 bail.

The son of film director Robert Downey, he earned an Oscar nomination for his work in the title role in "Chaplin," the 1992 screen biography of the famed comedian. Other film credits include "Less Than Zero," "Natural Born Killers" and "Wonder Boys." He also has a recurring role on the Fox television series "Ally McBeal."

Downey planned in January to star in a Los Angeles stage run of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" to be directed by Mel Gibson.