Ravens' Fuller faces additional charges

OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Fuller has been charged with felony firearm and misdemeanor gambling charges connected to Florida law enforcement officials' investigation into the football player allegedly operating a gambling house.

Fuller, 32, was arrested last month and charged with a third-degree felony of operating a gambling house after Leon County police officers raided his home in Tallahassee, Fla.

Now, Fuller faces a second-degree felony charge of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in addition to the count of misdemeanor gambling.

Assistant state attorney Matt Smith told The Tallahassee Democrat that he decided to charge Fuller with the firearm charge after informants and an undercover investigator said that Fuller carried a handgun "at all times" while hosting the games. Smith said that Fuller either carried the gun in his waistband or in a belt holster. 

The prosecutor added that gamblers interviewed by detectives alleged that Fuller would occasionally participate in the high-stakes games where thousands of dollars we bet per hand in excess of Florida's $10 limit.

When the game called "Georgia skins" was broken up, deputies seized thousands of dollars, sheriff's spokeswoman Linda Butler said.

Fuller's attorney, Timothy Jansen, told the newspaper that the charges weren't warranted.

"We'll follow through with our own investigation and we expect to present evidence that will contradict the new allegations," Jansen said.

Detectives searched a local auto detailing business last month as part of the Fuller investigation. The owner, Mike Thomas, described himself as Fuller's childhood friend, roommate and house sitter.

Also, two Leon County deputies that Fuller had paid to provide security at his home were fired after internal affairs officials said they failed to follow up on their suspicions that illegal activity was taking place in the residence. However, one deputy was rehired after a successful appeal.

In January, Fuller exchanged multiple gunshots in the middle of the night with a masked man he said attempted to invade and rob his home. No one was shot in the gun battle, though.

Fuller has played for the Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns and Ravens since being drafted in the second round out of Florida State. He went to high school in Tallahassee as well.

Last season, Fuller recorded 34 tackles with no interceptions, ending the season as a nickel back after beginning the year as a starting cornerback. He's expected to compete for nickel duty again this fall with recently-signed veteran Dale Carter.

When Fuller was arrested last month, Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome issued a written statement that said: "He did tell us he plays card games at his home with friends and relatives. There is a due process and we believe in that."

After these new charges were filed, Fuller issued another denial to his hometown newspaper: "When this is over, said and done with, I'm going to dust my feet off and get out of this town."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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