WASHINGTON (AP) _ Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson said Thursday that he met with an alleged drug kingpin and asked him to steer clear of his players after learning that several Hoyas were frequenting a bar where drug trafficking is common.

Thompson told ABC News that he summoned the alleged drug dealer, 24-year- old Rayful Edmond III, after learning that many of his players were socializing at Chapter III, a Washington nightclub where both college students and alleged drug dealers regularly gather.

''I sent the word out on the street that I'd like to talk to him,'' Thompson said. ''It was almost like a tacit agreement: 'Do me a favor - if you see anything going on out there, use whatever resources you have to stop it from happening.'''

Thompson said he met with Edmond in February. On April 15, Edmond and 15 others were arrested and charged with running a massive transcontinental cocaine ring.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jay B. Stephens has estimated that Edmond's group may be responsible for up to 20 percent of the cocaine trafficking in the nation's capital.

Thompson said he was trying to head off a problem before it developed.

''What I was trying to do ... was not wait until something happened, that would hurt one of the kids,'' Thompson told ABC. ''(I didn't want) to have a body laying there, someone who had been using drugs.''

Thompson did not elaborate on whether he suspected any of his athletes were using drugs.

''Nightline'' host Ted Koppel reported that Thompson learned that freshman center Alonzo Mourning and sophomore forward John Turner were among the Hoyas who frequented the nightclub.

Thompson described Edmond as ''very polite.''

''It was 'Yes sir, no sir,''' Thompson said.

District of Columbia police suspect that Edmond's organization may be responsible for up to 30 drug-related murders in the nation's capital during the past two years.