Joint Investigation Nets Big Drug Bust

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BERLIN – Two people were arrested on drug charges last weekend after a cooperative effort by the Ocean City Police Department and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office snared them in a sting operation.

Last Saturday, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies stopped a vehicle on Hall Rd. near Route 50 in reference to a joint drug investigation between the sheriff’s office and the OCPD narcotics unit. The passenger in the vehicle, Georgianna Shockley, of Snow Hill, was wanted by the OCPD on an outstanding arrest warrant for distribution of cocaine, and prior to stopping the vehicle, OCPD detectives made arrangements to purchase cocaine from her at Hall Rd.

After the stop, Shockley was arrested and charged with distribution of cocaine, possession of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. She was committed to the Worcester County Jail and held on a $25,000 bond. Meanwhile, the driver of the vehicle, identified as Ricky Anthony Johnson, of Snow Hill, was found with 23 individually wrapped bags of cocaine and crack cocaine as well as nearly $1,400 in cash. Johnson was also arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was committed to the Worcester County Jail and held on a $50,000 bond.

Possession Charges Stick, Despite Medical Claims

OCEAN CITY – A man was found guilty of possession of marijuana in District Court this week, despite claims that the marijuana was in his possession for medical uses.

James Zachary Wolfe, 26, of Frederick, appeared in District Court this week, pleading guilty to possession of marijuana, but citing his numerous medical problems as the reason for his marijuana use.

On April 4, 2007, Ocean City police officers spotted Wolfe walking along the sidewalk and drinking out of a brown paper bag that was concealing a bottle. After approaching Wolfe, he admitted to officers that he was drinking beer. Wolfe was arrested for open container and while performing a search of persons, a small amount of marijuana was found.

Wolfe’s attorney explained that Wolfe received a major head injury in an accident several years ago, which, along with bi-polar disorder, contributes to his problems. Wolfe’s attorney claimed that Wolfe uses marijuana for medical reasons.

Judge Daniel Mumford didn’t buy the claims that the marijuana was for medical uses and found Wolfe guilty, fining him $557.50.

Local Found Guilty Of Disorderly Conduct

OCEAN CITY – A local man was found guilty of disorderly conduct this week after he was found passed out on an Ocean City sidewalk last month.

On Dec. 28, Ocean City police found Jerry Michael Groom, 55, of Ocean City, passed out on the sidewalk. Groom appeared to have urinated on himself and was not responsive to officers. After being woken up with an ammonia inhalant, Groom become angry with officers and the crowd of people who had gathered, yelling a slew of profanities. Officers were unable to calm Groom down and as a result, arrested him and charged with him disorderly conduct.

Groom pleaded guilty to the charges this week and was found guilty and sentenced to thirty days to the county jail.

“Being the town drunk is not a very high aspiration,” advised Judge Daniel Mumford.

Groom has an extensive record in Ocean City and the surrounding area. Just last week, he was arrested on disorderly conduct charges after being discovered passed out in the restroom of the Food Lion in West Ocean City with an empty bottle of cooking wine he had taken from the store.

Six Months For Crack Possession

OCEAN CITY – A Delaware man was sentenced to six months in the county jail this week after being found guilty of possession of cocaine.

Charles Leonard Truitt III, 28, of Georgetown, Del., appeared in District Court this week, pleading guilty to charges of possession of cocaine.

On Sept. 17, Ocean City police officers were responding to a reported vehicle theft when they pulled over a suspected vehicle. Upon pulling over the vehicle, Truitt, who was the passenger, and the vehicle’s driver, were both discovered to have active warrants for their arrests in Delaware. Officers noticed Truitt reach behind the passenger seat and conceal something underneath the backseat. A search revealed a baggie of crack cocaine under the seat, which later proved to be 1.4 grams of crack cocaine.

Truitt pleaded guilty to the charges, noting however that the car was not stolen. Truitt was sentenced to six months in jail with credit for one day already served.

Lost Baggie Leads To Possession Charges

OCEAN CITY – Two men were found guilty of possession of marijuana this week after being arrested in November when they accidentally dropped a baggie of marijuana in a hotel lobby.

Michael R. Vitolo, 21, and William A. Pendergast, 25, both of Monroe, N.Y., both pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana in District Court this week.

On Nov. 19, Ocean City police responded to the Quality Inn. The desk clerk presented them with a Baggie of marijuana that was found on the floor of the lobby. The clerk reported Vitolo was the only individual that had passed through the lobby.

Police went to Vitolo’s room and presented him with the baggie of marijuana. Vitolo responded, “oh Jesus,” and admitted to ownership of the Baggie. Vitolo was in town to appear in District Court the next day. Vitolo and his friend, Pendergast, were reportedly cooperative with police. After finding another Baggie of marijuana in Pendergast’s possession, they were both arrested for possession of marijuana.

Pendergast and Vitolo were each found guilty in District Court this week. Each was sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of unsupervised probation and a $357.50 fine.

Fatal Accident in Snow Hill

SNOW HILL – A Fruitland man was killed this week in a single-vehicle accident in Snow Hill when his car left the roadway and struck a tree.

Around 11:30 a.m. last Saturday, Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to Old Furnace Rd. near Snow Hill for a reported motor vehicle crash. The investigation revealed a Chevrolet Suburban traveling east on Old Furnace Rd. in the area of Millville Rd. left the roadway and struck a tree.

The driver, identified as Myron Daniel Buck, 45, of Fruitland, was transported to PRMC in Salisbury via Maryland State Police helicopter where he later died of injuries sustained in the accident. The preliminary investigation has identified the vehicle was traveling at a speed greater than reasonable for the conditions of the roadway. Ice was noted on the roadway at the time of the crash. Also, the victim was not wearing his seatbelt. The investigation is ongoing.

Arrest In Boat Burglaries

WEST OCEAN CITY – Maryland State Police this week arrested a 14-year-old juvenile in connection with a series of boat burglaries at the Ocean City Fishing Center in West Ocean City.

Last Wednesday, troopers from the MSP Berlin barrack responded to the fishing center regarding the burglary of several fishing boats. The investigation revealed a suspect or suspects had broken into the boat storage area at the marina and boarded several boats, stealing liquor and handguns. The window for the break-ins was established between January 12 and January 23.

On Tuesday, the case was turned over to the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) and information obtained led to the arrest of a 14-year-old juvenile of Berlin. As a result of the investigation, two stolen handguns were recovered. The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are anticipated. The suspect was released to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Wal-Mart Shoplifter Nabbed

BERLIN – An Easton woman was arrested last week on theft charges after getting caught stealing various items from the Wal-Mart on Route 50 after paying for just some of the goods.

Around 6:40 p.m. last Saturday, a Maryland State Police trooper responded to the Wal-Mart for a reported shoplifting. Upon arrival, the trooper made contact with the store manager, who told him the suspect, later identified as Barbara Suzanne Meier, of Easton, had left the store with $123 in merchandize.

Meier allegedly stole miscellaneous items including cosmetics, socks and a belt. She did pay $33 for some merchandize before leaving the store. Meier was charged with theft under $500, taken before a court commissioner and released on her own recognizance.

Ditch Driving Arrest

WEST OCEAN CITY – An Eden man was arrested on drunk driving charges last week after police observed him attempting to get his car out of a ditch in West Ocean City.

Around 11 p.m. last Thursday, a Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputy on routine patrol in West Ocean City observed a vehicle in a ditch along Route 611 near its intersection with Route 707. The deputy attempted to contact the driver, later identified as Manclino Cerro Oro, 38, of Eden, by tapping on the driver’s side window of the vehicle.

Oro was seated in the driver’s seat attempting to drive the vehicle out of a six-foot-deep ditch. The officer observed Oro attempt to accelerate and shift from forward to reverse several times, despite the fact the rear wheels were not making contact with the ground. Oro was ultimately removed from the vehicle before doing poorly on field sobriety tests. He was arrested and charge with driving while intoxicated and was later released pending trial.

Clam Dredger Cited

OCEAN CITY – A Crisfield man was recently charged with harvesting hard-shell clams with a hydraulic dredge in a restricted area near Ocean City.

A little before 2 p.m. on Jan. 14, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) charged William J. Ryan, 62, of Crisfield with using a hydraulic dredge to catch hard-shell clams, a practice made illegal by the Maryland General Assembly last year. Ryan was observed by NRP officers dredging for clams in the Isle of Wight Bay approximately 100 feet from the Isle of Wight Wildlife Management Area near Ocean City.

A person may not catch hard-shell clams with a hydraulic dredge or escalator harvester within 300-feet of the shoreline of federal or state-owned property located in Worcester County. The maximum penalty for a person found guilty of this offense is $500 for a first offense. Ryan was issued a citation for commercial clamming within 300 feet of a restricted area. His trial date has been set in for March 21 in District Court in Snow Hill.

Assault Leads To Drug Theft Arrest

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man was arrested this week on theft and assault charges after getting caught swiping painkillers from his roommate’s purse.

Shortly before 5 a.m. on Sunday, OCPD officer responded to a residence on Shipwreck Rd. for a reported domestic assault. Upon arrival, the officers met with the theft victim who said she awoke to find her roommate, later identified as Michael David Liggett, 51, going through her purse looking for prescription Oxycontin pills. Liggett told police he went downstairs to where the victim was sleeping and planned to take one Oxycontin pill, which he knew she kept in her purse.

When the victim awoke to find Liggett going through her purse, she yelled for her husband to come downstairs. The victim’s husband repeatedly told Liggett to leave and a verbal altercation escalated into a physical fight between the two men. Liggett, who was a tenant of the victims, grabbed the husband by the throat during the altercation.

After sorting out the details, OCPD officers arrested Liggett and charged him with theft under $100 and second-degree assault.

Produce Stand Burglarized

OCEAN PINES – Maryland State Police this week are investigating the burglary of a produce stand on Racetrack Rd. near Ocean Pines.

Last week, MSP troopers responded to the Ocean Pines produce stand in reference to a reported burglary during which 25 wooden pallets were stolen and damage was done to the building. The investigation revealed the burglary occurred sometime between Dec. 25 and Jan. 23. There are no suspects in the case and the investigation is ongoing.

Fugitive Nabbed In Pot Bust

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man, wanted on several outstanding warrants, was arrested this week on marijuana possession charges after Maryland State Police troopers caught him with pot.

Around 2 p.m. on Monday, MSP troopers went to the Bradley on the Bay condominiums in Ocean City to serve warrants on Michael John Gregory, 30, of Ocean City. At the time of the arrest, troopers detected a strong odor of marijuana and the investigation found Gregory in possession of 3.2 grams of pot and a glass smoking device. He was charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

At the time of the arrest, Gregory was served with outstanding warrants from the state police and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department. One was a District Court warrant for violation of probation on a 2005 second-degree assault case, and the other was a VOP in a 2005 DUI case. Gregory was held at the Worcester County Detention Center on pre-set bonds totaling nearly $11,000.

Theft, Assault Lead To Jail

OCEAN CITY – A local man was sentenced to over two years in jail this week, after being found guilty of a variety of charges.

Darryl Lee Whaley, 50, of Ocean City, appeared in District Court this week, pleading guilty to resisting arrest, second-degree assault, and theft under $100.

On Nov. 20, Officer Joe Melena spotted Whaley in downtown Ocean City. Knowing that Whaley had an active warrant for his arrest, Melena attempted to stop Whaley, who was traveling by bicycle. Whaley refused to heed Melena’s requests to stop. After being cut off by Melena’s police car, Whaley resisted arrest, shoving Melena and fleeing the scene.

Whaley was chased into a unit at the Buckingham Hotel, busting down the door to the unit as he entered. Whaley continued to resist arrest but was eventually subdued.

In the midst of Whaley’s chase, a black backpack was discarded, which was later found. The bag contained a stereo that police were able to connect to CVS on 17th Street. CVS surveillance cameras revealed Whaley in the store with the same black bag, stealing the stereo and then leaving the store.

Whaley was found guilty and sentenced to one year in the county jail for resisting arrest, another one year sentence for second-degree assault, and 90 days in jail for theft under $100. All three sentences are to be served concurrently. Whaley was also ordered to pay $49.99 in restitution to CVS.

Possession Charges Stick

OCEAN CITY – Julius Richard Friedman, 21, of Newark, Del., was found guilty of possession of marijuana this week in District Court, despite a not guilty plea.

Corporal Lesa Breneman testified that on July 15, at approximately 1:25 p.m., she was on foot patrol in the area of 33rd Street and Baltimore Ave. when she pulled over a vehicle for a seat belt violation. Neither the driver nor Friedman, were wearing seatbelts. After giving written warnings for the violation, Breneman asked if she could search the vehicle. Friedman reportedly responded, “no, we smoke and drank in it all last night.”

A search of the driver’s purse revealed a baggie of marijuana. As the driver was being arrested, Friedman reportedly claimed that the drugs were his.

After arresting the driver, a cigarette box was found on the floor of the passenger side of the vehicle. Marijuana was found inside of the box and Friedman was also arrested for possession of marijuana.

Friedman testified and denied that he ever said the drugs were his. He said that he was shocked when his friend was arrested, adding that he was unaware possession of marijuana warranted an arrest.

Despite his claims all of the marijuana belonged to the driver, Friedman was found guilty and fined $557.50.

Not Guilty Verdict

OCEAN CITY – Richard Gene Shirey, 42, of New Castle, Del., appeared in District Court this week, pleading not guilty to a variety of charges against him.

Shirey pleaded not guilty to eight counts, which included two counts of theft under $500, two counts of rogue and vagabond, two counts of malicious destruction of property, and two counts of attempted unlawful taking of a motor vehicle.

On Oct. 15, Ocean City police responded to the Clarion Hotel employee parking lot after hearing reports regarding a damaged vehicle. Upon arrival, Officer Sara Dorsey found a white pick-up truck with its passenger window smashed in. After talking to security guards and a witness, Dorsey began to suspect Shirey, whom she had dealt with earlier in the evening for an alleged traffic violation, which had resulted in Shirey’s vehicle being towed.

Officers quickly found Shirey in the area and questioned him about his whereabouts. Shirey explained that he and his passenger had engaged in a fight after the car was towed and that the passenger had stolen Shirey’s cell phone and disappeared. Shirey was released by officers and told to go home.

After releasing Shirey, Dorsey was notified that another vehicle had been allegedly broken into. The vehicle’s ignition was broken and a bent screwdriver, a bloody t-shirt and Shirey’s cell phone were all found on the passenger seat.

Clarion employee Georgette Williams testified that she had been leaving work that night when she heard a loud crash coming from the parking lot. She saw two “strange” gentlemen walking away and she quickly got in her car to leave. The men, one of whom she identified as Shirey, approached her and, according to Williams, Shirey told her they were trying to get to the Cork Bar downtown. She quickly drove away and called the front desk, alerting them that suspicious men were in the parking lot.

Shirey testified that he was only at the parking lot when his car was towed and when he was looking for his cell phone. He claimed to have never broken into any cars, maintaining that his cell phone had been stolen.

Despite doubts as to whether Shirey’s story was the truth, Judge Daniel Mumford found Shirey not guilty of all charges.

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