- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 11, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) The actor who gained fame and a cult following as the slacker "Steven" in commercials for Dell computers was arrested for buying a small bag of marijuana, police said.
Benjamin Curtis, a 22-year-old New York University drama student, was arraigned yesterday on a misdemeanor drug-possession charge. The charge assumes a suspect is not carrying more than a "use amount" enough to roll several marijuana cigarettes.
Police said Mr. Curtis was arrested Sunday night on the Lower East Side after officers on a drug detail spotted him buying a small bag of marijuana from Omar Mendez, 19. Mr. Mendez faces drug sale and possession charges.
Mr. Curtis' portrayal of a surfer type who proclaims, "Dude, you're getting a Dell" drove up computer sales and spawned T-shirts, caps and backpacks, with Web sites and online fan clubs.
At the arraignment, Criminal Court Judge Ellen Coin advised Mr. Curtis that his case would be dismissed and his record expunged if he avoided arrest during the next year.
Asked if he understood, he said, "Yes, ma'am."
Outside court, Mr. Curtis' attorney, James Moschella, said: "We are confident that at the appropriate time, the charges will be dismissed."
Dell spokesman Venancio Figueroa said no decision has been made on Mr. Curtis' future promoting the company, which is based in Round Rock, Texas.

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