Ex-athlete guilty in drug case

Dunbar basketball player Wells admits involvement in large cocaine operation

August 26, 2006

A former Dunbar High School basketball star pleaded guilty yesterday to drug charges in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, four days after his brother pleaded guilty to similar charges, according to federal law enforcement officials.

Federal prosecutors say that William "Billy" Wells -- as well as his brother, Leonardo Wells -- were involved in distributing large quantities of cocaine to wholesale customers.

Prosecutors said Leonardo Wells purchased kilograms of cocaine and sold them to customers in Hagerstown and elsewhere from December 2003 until February of this year.

They said that law enforcement officials followed Leonardo Wells on Sept. 7 as he sought to meet a customer in Hagerstown, but he spotted the surveillance and abandoned his car near Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore.

In November, two Hagerstown men were arrested with 420 grams of cocaine after leaving the Parkville home of Billy Wells.

In 1994-1995, Billy Wells was named to the all-Baltimore City/Baltimore County first team, and he played from 1999 to 2001 at the University of Delaware.

He holds the college's record for most three-point shots made in a game.

"It is a shame that a star basketball player from Baltimore used his abilities to throw kilos of cocaine rather than a basketball on the court," said Carl J. Kotowski, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Baltimore district office, in a statement.

Kotowski said Billy Wells also worked as a counselor for troubled youths in Baltimore.

Sentencing for both men is set for Nov. 15.

Both face prison sentences of at least five years, and as much as 40 years, prosecutors said.

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