Ex-NBA player caught in drug probe

Updated: January 17, 2014, 5:04 PM ET
By John Barr and Greg Amante | ESPN.com

ATLANTA -- Javaris Crittenton, a former first-round NBA draft pick perhaps best known for his gun-in-the-locker-room confrontation with former Washington Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas, was indicted Wednesday on drug charges in Atlanta, where he's already awaiting trial for his alleged role in the shooting death of a mother of four.

Crittenton and 13 other people were named in the indictment that was initially the result of an investigation conducted by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, according to a source close to the investigation. According to that source, Crittenton conspired to deal cocaine and marijuana in the months before he was indicted last year for his alleged role in an August 2011 Atlanta shooting death.

Shortly after 6 a.m. ET Wednesday, DEA agents, federal marshals and local police descended on Crittenton's home on a cul de sac in Fayetteville, a suburb just south of Atlanta. Crittenton was led away in handcuffs and was booked into the Fulton County Jail. A call to Crittenton's Atlanta-based attorney, Brian Steel, went unreturned.

[+] EnlargeJavaris Crittenton
Reuters/Al SeibJavaris Crittenton, already awaiting trial for murder, has been indicted in a federal drug investigation.

In April 2013, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Crittenton and his cousin, Douglas Gamble, for murder in the death of Julian Jones, 22, a mother of four children. That 12-count indictment also accused Crittenton and Gamble of participating in a criminal street gang and linked both to a second shooting in Atlanta that occurred five days before Jones' death.

According to court documents, both of the August 2011 shootings were in retaliation for a robbery committed against Crittenton and his cousin. On April 13, 2011, Crittenton and his cousin were held up at gunpoint by two men outside a southwest Atlanta barbershop and robbed of more than $55,000 worth of personal items and jewelry, according to a police report of the incident.

According to the district attorney's office, "Crittenton and the other suspects are accused of selling multi-kilo quantities of cocaine and several hundred pounds of marijuana" during a seven-month investigation dating to June 2012. He will have an initial court appearance Thursday morning on those charges; he had been on limited house arrest as he awaited trial for murder.

The drug-charges development is the latest in a string for Crittenton, who starred in high school with current Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard. The two future first-round draft picks teamed up to lead Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy to a state championship in 2004. Crittenton won another state title at Southwest Atlanta Christian in 2006 before playing for one season at Georgia Tech.

Howard's uncle, Paul Howard, remembers watching Crittenton play in high school.

Today, Paul Howard is watching Crittenton's criminal case unfold from a far different vantage point. Howard is the Fulton County District Attorney. His office is prosecuting Crittenton for murder and a laundry list of additional charges.

"This was a kid with a lot of promise," Howard said. "As I look back, I'd have to say it was a lot of pain involved having to take some action because of those facts."

Greg Amante is a producer with ESPN's Enterprise/Investigative Unit.

John Barr | email

Reporter ESPN Enterprise Unit

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