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Jamal Lewis surrenders, faces drug charges

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    Jamal Lewis surrenders, faces drug charges;_yl...v=ap&type=lgns

    ATLANTA (AP) -- Star NFL running back Jamal Lewis surrendered to authorities Thursday to face charges he tried to help a childhood friend buy cocaine in the summer of 2000, a source said.

    The Baltimore Ravens' player was taken into custody at the FBI office in Atlanta, according to an FBI employee who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Two security guards said Lewis entered the building with his attorneys.

    Lewis, who grew up in the Atlanta area, was scheduled to appear before a judge later in the day.

    One of his attorneys, Don Samuel, said Lewis would plead not guilty to the charges, which include conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms of cocaine. If convicted, he could face 10 years to life in prison.

    ``Jamal Lewis wants everyone to know that he is not guilty, that he has not been involved in drugs,'' said Ed Garland, another attorney for Lewis. ``He's extremely disappointed that this is happening.''

    Prosecutors said Lewis met the childhood friend and a woman, who turned out to be a police informant, at a restaurant to discuss a cocaine buy more than three years ago.

    That meeting and a prior cell phone conversation between Lewis and the informant are the focus of the federal indictment against the NFL star. No drugs were ever purchased, according to the indictment.

    Lewis' attorneys say nothing about the conversation involved cocaine.

    Ravens spokesman Chad Steele said the indictment came as a surprise to the team. ``We had no clue,'' he said.

    In a statement, the team said: ``We believe in due process, and Jamal will have his day in court. There are two sides to every story. From what we know of the charges, these seem out of character for the Jamal we know.''

    The NFL declined to comment.

    The indictment came out of a drug investigation that has led to 30 convictions and helped dismantle a cocaine-trafficking ring in Atlanta, said U.S. Attorney William S. Duffey. He refused to say whether Lewis was tied to that drug ring.

    In an affidavit, FBI special agent Hoyt Mahaley said the informant contacted Lewis on his cell phone on June 23, 2000, to discuss selling cocaine to Lewis' friend. The conversation was recorded, according to the agent.

    Hours after the call, Lewis and his friend, Angelo Jackson, met with the informant at an Atlanta restaurant, the affidavit said. There, Lewis and Jackson asked the informant how much cocaine the informant was capable of distributing, the affidavit alleges.

    Jackson and the informant met again July 12, 2000, at a gas station in suburban Atlanta, the affidavit said. During the meeting, they discussed drugs, but no purchase was made.

    Lewis wasn't at the gas station.

    Garland accused the informant of setting up Lewis and ``trumping up what happened'' in an attempt to get out of jail. He accused authorities of trying to ``create a crime where there isn't one.''

    A college star at Tennessee, Lewis was the fifth pick overall in the 2000 draft, and signed a six-year, $35.3 million contract with the Ravens that July.

    He set an NFL record last year by running for 295 yards in a game, and he had the second-highest season rushing total in league history.

    Last year, he became the fifth player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards. His 2,066 yards fell short of Eric Dickerson's record of 2,105 yards in the final game. He was the AP's Offensive Player of the Year.

    In November 2001, he was suspended for four games after violating the NFL's substance and alcohol abuse policy for the second time. The league did not disclose the details of the violation, in keeping with its policy.

    Lewis is the second Ravens player to face serious charges in Atlanta. In 2000, star linebacker Ray Lewis -- no relation to Jamal -- was charged with murder along with two other men following a post-Super Bowl party fight.

    Ray Lewis later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice. He testified against his two co-defendants, who eventually were acquitted of all charges.


    oh no!

    i think Jamal was setup by his friend - i hope he gets accquitted!
    If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone. Michael Corleone