Two-Month Probe Nets Major Drug Bust

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OCEAN CITY – A two-month drug distribution investigation carried out by the Ocean City Police Department’s Narcotics Division resulted last week in a significant drug bust in the resort.

The two-month investigation culminated in the arrest of Marvin Jefferson Mitchell, 24, of Ocean City last Wednesday when an undercover OCPD narcotics detective purchased an undisclosed amount of crack cocaine from the suspect. After the transaction, a search and seizure warrant was served at Mitchell’s Ocean City residence during which detectives seized 4.6 grams of crack cocaine, 14 grams of marijuana, two digital scales, $1,435 in currency and a Ruger semi-automatic 9mm handgun.

Mitchell was charged with distribution of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine and marijuana and possession of CDS paraphernalia. He is being held at the Worcester County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

Alleged Pipe Wielder Arrested

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man was arrested on assault with a deadly weapon charges last week after police were able to sort out the details of an incident.

Around 11:30 p.m. on March 31, OCPD officers responded to a residence on 79th Street for a reported assault that had taken place. Upon arrival, the officers encountered a man later identified as Robert Gustave Adams, 47, of Ocean City, who was bleeding from a laceration over his right eye close to his nose.

When asked about the laceration, Adams told police he was threatened and “got beat up by that guy,” pointing at a room down the hallway. Adams identified his assailant as James Denis Ireland, who was a tenant in another room in the building. Adams told police Ireland pushed him against a wall at which time Adams punched Ireland two times to get him to leave him alone.

However, when interviewed by police, Ireland gave a different account of the events. Ireland said Adams came home drunk and irate from a bar where he and Adams had an argument earlier. Ireland told police Adams punched twice in the face, the second of which caused him to fall on a bed.

Ireland said Adams then grabbed a four-foot metal pipe and attempted to stab him with it. Ireland said he was able to thwart the attempt by grabbing the pole. At that point, Ireland said he punched Adams in the face, which caused his injury. Another tenant in the building jumped in and grabbed the metal pipe from Adams.

When asked about the pipe, Adams said he had no idea about the alleged weapon. When asked about the incident further, Adams said he may or may not have grabbed a pipe and that he didn’t remember. He was then placed under arrest for openly wearing and carrying a deadly weapon with intent to injure and second-degree assault.

Counterfeiter Busted

BERLIN – An Ocean City man was arrested on possession of counterfeit currency and other charges last week after trying to pass a phony $20 bill at a Berlin package goods store.

Around 3 p.m. last Thursday, Berlin Police officers responded to the Cheers store on Old Ocean City Blvd. in Berlin in reference to an individual attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages with a counterfeit $20 bill. Upon their arrival, Berlin Police saw the suspect, later identified as Raymond Bennett, 73, of Ocean City, leaving the area and stopped his vehicle, a late model pick-up truck a short distance from the store.

The store clerk was brought over and identified Bennett as the man who attempted to pass the counterfeit bill. Police searched his vehicle for about an hour, going through it extensively. It appeared they recovered several license plates in the vehicle along with other documents and what appeared to be mail, witnesses observed. Bennett was ultimately taken into custody and charged with possessing and using a counterfeit bill, driving on a revoked license and operating an unregistered vehicle.

The counterfeit incident was the second in a week in the area, although it is uncertain if Bennett was involved in the other. In late March, Maryland State Police investigated an incident where an unknown suspect passed a counterfeit $20 bill at the Wal-Mart in Berlin.

Steak Swiper Sentenced

SNOW HILL – A Glen Burnie man arrested last September after a pattern of thefts from his place of employment, an Ocean City grocery market, was found guilty of theft this week in Circuit Court and was sentenced to 120 days in jail.

On Sept. 26, OCPD officers responded to the Minit Market for a report of continued thefts by an employee. On the day in question, Mark Edward Skeans, 23, of Glen Burnie, allegedly stole three packs of cigarettes and an energy drink, but the most recent thefts were the last in a pattern that started weeks earlier.

For example, on Sept. 10, Skeans blatantly stole a carton of cigarettes in front of fellow employees and ignored them when they asked if he was going to pay for them. On Sept. 18, Skeans asked a co-worker for a ride home, but before he got in her car, he went behind a nearby dumpster and produced four or five plastic grocery bags filled with steaks and other meats.

According to police reports, Skeans told his co-worker he was going to sell the roughly $200 in meat to another person for $100, and had her drive him to a residence on 34th Street where the transaction allegedly took place. The next day, Skeans allegedly took another carton of cigarettes in front of the same co-worker, and when she confronted him about it, he allegedly told her not to tell anyone about it or he would implicate her in the thefts.

Finally, on Sept. 26, Skeans took three more packs of smokes and an energy drink, forcing the co-worker to tell the owner about his recent actions. The owner called police who arrived and questioned Skeans about his behavior while he was still at the store.

Skeans told police he would pay for the three packs of cigarettes and the energy drink if they wanted him to. When asked about the stolen steaks, Skeans told police he had cut too much lunch meat for the customers and was taking home the extra meat. He was then arrested and charged with theft.

In Circuit Court this week, Skeans entered an Alford Plea to a theft less than $500 charge. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the state has enough evidence to prosecute the case. Skeans was sentenced to 120 days in jail, which he is scheduled to begin serving tomorrow. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the store at a rate of $75 per week while on work release.

Warrant Team Nabs Four

BERLIN – The Maryland State Police warrant initiative team was back at it last week, rounding up four more fugitives wanted in Worcester County to bring the total since to project began to well over 100.

In January, the MSP Berlin barrack warrant initiative team began an aggressive search for known wanted felons in the area. The warrant team achieved great success right off the bat, rounding up 30 individuals wanted on outstanding warrants in Worcester County from the local area and all over the country in the first week of the program. To date, the warrant initiative team has located and served over 100 outstanding warrants, some of which dated back 20 years.

Last week, the warrant initiative team rounded up four more fugitives wanted in the county. Stafan Hobbs, 45, was wanted on a felony arrest warrant for motor vehicle theft. He was located in a prison in Philadelphia and extradited back to Worcester. Michael John Lucy, 51, of Brick, N.J., was served with two warrants, both for failing to appear in court for a 1995 DUI trial.

John Calvert Walker, 41, of Berlin, was served with a warrant for failing to appear on a driving while suspended case. He was taken into custody and held on a $2,500 bond. Finally, Damar Shawntay Collins, 21, of Berlin, was picked up by the warrant initiative team failure to make a deferred payment of $258. He was also held in the Worcester County Jail.

Medical Condition Could Have Caused Crash

OCEAN PINES – Two people were injured in a two-car crash on Route 589 at Cathell Rd. on Monday in an accident that could have been caused by the medical condition of one of the drivers involved.

Around 2:20 p.m. on Monday, Maryland State Police from the Berlin barrack responded to a motor vehicle accident involving injuries on Route 589 at Cathell Rd. The investigation revealed a 2005 Ford SUV driven by Charles Rhoads struck the rear of the 2008 Kia passenger car driven by Anthony Russo. The impact of the crash pushed Russo’s vehicle into the rear of a 1997 Dodge van driven by Charlene Dalbora.

Both Rhoads and Russo were transported by Ocean Pines Fire-EMS to Peninsula Regional Medical Center where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The preliminary investigation revealed Rhoads has a medical condition that could have contributed to the accident.

Stet Docket For Alleged Concrete Block Thrower

SNOW HILL – A Salisbury man arrested in November for allegedly throwing a concrete block at a police car while two OCPD officers were attempting to make a DUI arrest had the charges against him placed on the stet, or inactive, docket this week.

Two Ocean City Police officers were attempting to arrest a man on Nov. 22 in the area of 16th Street and Baltimore Ave. The suspect was resisting arrest and the officers were trying to subdue him when they heard a loud crash behind them. The officers looked up in time to see a concrete block strike the bumper of the police car and skid across the street.

The officers involved with the DUI arrest saw a man running east toward the Boardwalk. Other officers assisted in pursuing the suspect, later identified as Caleb Ochse, 21, of Salisbury. Ochse was later arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, obstructing and hindering an arrest and malicious destruction of property. This week in Circuit Court, Ochse had the charges against him placed on the stet docket.

Charges Dropped In Big Cocaine Bust

SNOW HILL – A Salisbury man arrested in August in a significant cocaine bust after a routine traffic stop on Route 113 just north of Berlin had the charges against him dropped in Worcester County Circuit Court this week.

On Aug. 22, a Maryland State Police trooper traveling west on Route 90 just west of its intersection with Route 113 observed a white Chevrolet SUV moving toward him at what appeared to be a high rate of speed. The trooper checked the vehicle with radar and noted it was going 65 mph in a 55 mph zone. The trooper then turned around and began to pursue the SUV, eventually stopping it on Route 113 near Carey Rd.

The trooper approached the vehicle, driven by Dwight Foreman, 30, of Salisbury. While speaking to Foreman, the trooper noticed the suspect became increasingly nervous and began to perspire. The trooper conducted a routine license and warrant search on Foreman and found his license was suspended and revoked in Maryland.

A short time later, a drug detection K-9 unit from the Ocean City Police Department arrived on the scene and conducted a scan on the Foreman’s SUV. The K-9’s handler informed the trooper the dog alerted on the Chevy truck, indicating the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.

A search of the vehicle then turned up a shoebox in the rear cargo area of the truck and the box was found to contain six individual plastic bags of suspected cocaine. Foreman was then placed under arrest and transported to the MSP Berlin barrack for processing.

A field test of the contents of the six plastic bags revealed it was indeed cocaine. During processing, it was learned the total approximate weight of the cocaine found in Foreman’s truck was 1,179 grams, or 2.6 pounds, making it a significant drug bust in Worcester County.

According to the police report, the Worcester County Narcotics Task Force was familiar with Foreman as a result of an extensive investigation into the distribution of controlled dangerous substances in the county. In fact, Foreman was convicted on a possession of crack cocaine charge in 2004 and was sentenced to four years in jail with all but one year suspended.

Due to the extensive investigation into narcotics distribution in the county, the arresting trooper contacted members of the narcotics task force and the case, and the suspected cocaine, was turned over to the task force for further investigation. Foreman was charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute a large amount of cocaine. However, due to reasons not cited in court documents, the charges against him were not prosecuted this week in Circuit Court.

Jail Time For Cocaine

OCEAN CITY – Mark Livingston Coston, 28, of Snow Hill, appeared in District Court this week, pleading guilty to possession of cocaine.

According to police reports, on July 29, 2007, Ocean City Police Officers were on patrol in the area of 2nd Street when they observed a vehicle with an expired registration sticker displayed on the license plate. Upon pulling over the vehicle and performing a search, a crack pipe, containing a trace amount of cocaine, was found. Coston, who was the passenger of the vehicle, claimed ownership of the pipe and its contents. As a result, police placed him under arrest.

Coston was found guilty in District Court this week and was sentenced to 18 months in the county jail.

Burglary Spree Case Moved To Circuit Court

OCEAN CITY – One of the two suspects believed to be responsible for a string of burglaries at a resort trailer park last month appeared in District Court this week to face 34 counts, ranging from first degree burglary to theft over $500.

On March 4, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officers responded to the Isle of Wight Trailer Park near 24th Street in reference to a burglary. Initially, the officers believed they were responding to a single burglary, but a thorough search of the entire trailer park revealed an additional 14 trailers had been burglarized. Numerous items were removed from the burglarized residences including televisions, DVD players and a vacuum.

Evidence was gathered at the scene by the OCPD’s Forensic Services Unit and investigators were able to connect the crimes to a pair of individuals who were visiting Ocean City for the weekend. The suspects were identified as Stavros Dennis Kominos, 21, of Ocean City, and Adam Woodson Queen, 21, of Bethel Park, Pa.

Detective Vickie Martin of the OCPD testified to the events in District Court this week. According to Detective Martin, Queen’s fingerprints were found on the exterior of one of the trailer doors.

Queen’s attorney argued that there was no evidence of a scheme or pattern in the break-ins. He also argued that there was little to no evidence connecting Queen to the string of burglaries. “A fingerprint on the outside of one door is simply insufficient,” he said.

After hearing the evidence and arguments presented by both the state and the defense, Judge Daniel Mumford found probable cause to forward the case to Circuit Court.

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