The father of MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden has been dragged into a crack cocaine scandal after the manager of his business was charged with money laundering.
James Payne, 39, has been arrested on suspicion of links to a drug gang and charged with laundering money through 2nd Chances Auto Sales, Earl Hayden’s car dealership in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Richard Badaracco, assistant special agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency, said it was also suspected “he was providing vehicles to this drug organisation” using Hayden senior’s car dealership. Badaracco said Payne was charged with “two counts of money laundering” through the business.
A Kentucky business directory lists Earl Hayden as president of 2nd Chance Auto Sales and James Payne as vice president.
T-shirts bearing the name of his father’s business are currently on sale via Nicky Hayden’s official website.
At least 16 suspected members of a gang known as D-block, short for drug block, have been arrested in an operation involving 63 officers from Kentucky State Police, Owensboro Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration. They could face up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
The operation, codenamed Blockbuster, was the climax of a year-long investigation.
2nd Chance Auto Sales declined to comment.
There is no suggestion of criminal acitivity by Earl Hayden.