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Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Patriots' Willie Andrews charged with marijuana possession

Associated Press

LOWELL, Mass. -- New England Patriots defensive back Willie Andrews pleaded not guilty to drug possession Tuesday, hours after authorities said they found him with a half-pound of marijuana.

Andrews was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and driving an unregistered motor vehicle, a black Crown Victoria. Prosecutors said he had $6,800 in cash, three bags of marijuana, and no means to smoke the drugs.

According to authorities, Lowell police responded to an anonymous caller who reported possible drug activity in a black motor vehicle. Police later pulled over the car, and when they approached it, detectives smelled a strong odor they believed to be marijuana, District Attorney Gerry Leone said.

Andrews was released on personal recognizance after entering not guilty pleas during his arraignment in Lowell District Court.

Andrews' lawyer, Sean Delaney, declined to comment.

The arrest came one day after the team returned from Arizona, where the New York Giants upset New England 17-14 in the Super Bowl to end the Patriots' perfect season.

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.

The 24-year-old player from Longview, Texas, was drafted in the seventh round out of Baylor in 2006.

Andrews is due back in court March 18 for a pretrial conference.