Ex-Pats safety Andrews arrested on drugs, weapons charges

Willie Andrews, whose New England Patriots tenure ended following a series of offseason incidents after a Super Bowl XLII loss to the New York Giants, was among 13 people arrested in Texas this week after an investigation into drug trafficking, the Longview News-Journal reported Friday.

Andrews, 27, was named in a sealed, 18-count indictment handed down May 11 by a federal grand jury, according to U.S. Attorney John M. Bales. Charges are conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute hydrocodone and possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime. Some defendants, Andrews included, also were charged with multiple counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm or possessing a stolen firearm, the newspaper reported.

A task force made up of federal, state and local law enforcement officers began arrests Monday. Defendants were scheduled to make court appearances Friday.

Andrews, who is from Longview and played at Baylor University, was a seventh-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2006. He was with the team for two seasons, primarily on special teams but also at safety, and was released after he was arrested twice during the 2008 offseason, the first time for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute just two days after the Super Bowl defeat.

Andrews has played the past two seasons in the United Football League, for the Florida Tuskers in 2009 and Omaha Nighthawks in 2010.

If convicted, defendants face up to 10 years in federal prison for the conspiracy charge and up to life for the firearms violation. Those charged with additional firearms violations face up to 10 years in federal prison.

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