Federal agents arrested Jackson on July 19, when he arrived at the informant's apartment allegedly expecting to purchase as much as 50 kilograms of cocaine -- which could have carried a price as high as $1 million.
After Jackson's arrest, federal agents found a .40-caliber semi-automatic Ruger handgun with a bullet in the chamber and several bullets in the magazine stashed under the driver's seat of Jackson's green Honda Civic, the affidavit said.
Federal court records indicate that Jackson was charged after his arrest with drug offenses in U.S. District Court, but the case against him was subsequently dropped. It could not be determined why last night.
Jackson made an initial appearance on the current indictment yesterday in federal court in Atlanta and was released on $25,000 bond.
The drug conspiracy charge against Lewis and Jackson is fairly standard in U.S. courts across the country, veteran defense lawyers said last night. If convicted, the men could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison because of the amount of cocaine they are accused of conspiring to attempt to distribute.
"This is the sort of run-of-the-mill federal drug charge," said Baltimore defense attorney Kenneth W. Ravenell, who has represented many accused drug dealers. Ravenell said last night that it was impossible to know all of the evidence the government could have against Lewis, but he said it was not highly unusual to have a charges come in a complex drug investigation sometimes several years after the alleged activity.
In the years since that summer in Atlanta, Lewis has become an NFL star, one who is generally considered to be low-key and content to make his mark on the field instead of through locker-room trash talk or elaborate end zone celebrations.
In the 2000 draft, Lewis was the fifth pick overall and signed that July with the Ravens. He quickly became the heart of the team's offense; last season he became the fifth player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards. He finished the season with 2,066 rushing yards -- just 39 yards short of the league record.
Against Cleveland in September, Lewis set the NFL's single-game rushing record with 295 yards.
Near the end of the 2001 season, Lewis failed the league's substance and alcohol abuse test, resulting in a four-game suspension because it was a second violation. He was reinstated by the NFL on Dec. 21, 2001.
In the quiet, western Baltimore County community of Granite where Lewis lives during the season, his elaborate home was dark last night. Neighbor Stacy Smith, who also serves as a personal assistant for Lewis, said he did not believe the allegations of drug activity.
"It's just conspiracy is all I think it is," Smith said. "He's harmless off the field."
Sun staff writers Jamison Hensley, Andrew Green, Walter F. Roche Jr., and Lynn Anderson, and researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this report.
Ravens running back Jamal Lewis was charged by a federal grnad jury in Atlanta in connection with alleged drug conspiracy in 2000.
* Conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine of a least 5 kilograms.
* Knowingly and intentionally using a cellular telephone to commit a drug felony.
This excerpt from an FBI affidavit alleges interaction between Lewis and an informant (listed as CS) on a cellular phone. The text also refers to Pero, which is the alias of Angelo Jackson, who is also chartged in the indictment.
"There are two sides to every story, From what we know of the charges, these seem out of character for the Jamal we know."
Ozzie Newsome, Ravens general manager.
* Jamal Lewis is expected surrender to authorities and appear in court today in Atlanta.
* Lewis is scheduled to participate in the Ravens first minicamp on May 7.
This Ravens players' brushes with the law and NFL rules
May: A Virginia judge sentences sixth-round draft choice Cornel Brown to two days in jail, after a misdemeanor battery amd assault conviction stemming from a campus brawl at Virginia Tech the year before.
August: The league suspends running back Bam Morris for the first four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy, his second offense. The offense also was a violation of his probabtion after a marijuana conviction while he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
September: Defensive back Ralph Staten is charged with drunken driving after a crash that injured a woman aslo accused of driving drunk, Baltimore County police said. Also, police found a 9-mm semiautomatic handgun on the floor. Four months later, he was charged with a handgun violation that followed another aut accident.
October: Brown is arrested twice in one day, before dawn on a DUI charge and later in the day, driving with a license that had been automatically suspended for a week because of the drunken-driving arrest. He later received a suspended sentence for the DUI charge.