Saturday, 2:15 PM
Patriots defensive back charged with marijuana possession in Lowell
(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
Willie Andrews, shown above during the AFC Championship game against the San Diego Chargers, was arrested this morning in Lowell.
By Globe Staff
A New England Patriots defensive back and special teams player was arrested in Lowell this morning and charged with possession of marijuana and for driving an unregistered car, according to the office of Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.
Willie Andrews was stopped by Lowell police around 9:30 a.m. on Middlesex Street. Andrews was arraigned this afternoon in Lowell District Court and pleaded not guilty to drug possession. Prosecutors said he had $6,800 in cash, three bags of marijuana, and no means to smoke the drugs.
Andrews is 24 years old and has been on the team for the last two seasons, having arrived from Baylor University after being chosen in the seventh round of the 2006 draft, according to the team's website.
The investigation into Andrews was triggered by an anonymous call to Lowell Police at 9:30 a.m. today, reporting that there was a Ford Crown Victoria with tinted windows in the neighborhood that could be involved in drug activity, Lowell Police Deputy Superintendent Bob DeMoura said in a telephone interview.
Responding officers spotted the car, discovered that it was not properly registered, and pulled it over as it was heading away from the neighborhood, he said. The officers approached the driver and they could smell what they believed was marijuana, DeMoura said. The driver, identified by police as Willie Andrews of Mansfield, was charged with marijuana possession and operating an unregistered car.
DeMoura said the incident occurred in the Lowell neighborhood known as the Acre, but he said it was not a section of the city where drug activity is prevalent. Its not an area where we are frequently sending people over to make drug arrests, he said.
The Patriots on Sunday lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. Had they won, today would have been the day for the parade in Boston celebrating their victory.
The Patriots declined to comment specifically on Andrews' arrest.
"The conduct of our players is very important to the New England Patriots," spokesman Stacey James said in a statement. "As is our policy, team discipline will be handled internally."
Andrews completed his second year with the Patriots, spending time on special teams return and coverage units. He scored his first NFL touchdown in October on a 77-yard kickoff return against the Miami Dolphins.
Andrews is due back in court March 18 for a pretrial conference.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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