Citizen Tip Leads to Drug Bust

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OCEAN CITY – A concerned citizen’s tip about people in an illegally parked vehicle “snorting drugs” led to the arrest of two people this week on St. Louis Ave. in Ocean City.

On Monday, Ocean City police officers in plainclothes patrol responded to a citizen complaint about a black Acura parked against a red curb on St. Louis Ave. near 7th Street. The concerned citizen advised police the occupants of the vehicle were snorting drugs. The plainclothes officers along with uniformed officers responded to the area and located the suspicious vehicle.

An investigation of the vehicle and its occupants turned up methadone pills, heroin, cocaine, a digital scale, plastic Baggies and around $950 in cash. The occupants, identified as Melvin Leon Brunson, 28, of Princess Anne, and Latesia Arianne Powell, 27, of Salisbury, were arrested and charged with possession of controlled dangerous substances and various paraphernalia charges. Brunson is being held in the Worcester County Jail on a $10,000 bond, while Powell was released after posting a $2,500 bond.

Scam Warning Issued

BERLIN – The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office this week warned residents about an ongoing scam involving teenagers soliciting people to buy magazines for their school ROTC programs.

The Sheriff’s Office has experienced several cases of teenagers falsely offering magazine subscriptions as part of a fundraising effort for their ROTC programs, despite the fact there are such efforts currently underway. In most cases, the individuals have been very aggressive in their approach and have asked questions not associated with magazine sales such as does the owner have a dog and what the neighborhood is like.

The Sheriff’s Office is concerned the individuals are surveying the targeted areas in advance of some planned criminal activity. Anyone who is solicited to buy magazines or comes in contact with the individuals is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office and report the activity so that law enforcement officials can identify the suspects and avert any criminal activity. The Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 410-632-1111.

Feisty Suspect Assaults Cops

OCEAN CITY – A Canadian woman was arrested on several counts of assaulting a police officer last weekend after going on an expletive-filled rampage during which she hit one officer, kicked another and spit on at least two more.

Shortly before 8:30 p.m. last Saturday, OCPD officers responded to a fight in progress in the 5th Street area. Upon arrival, an OCPD officer noticed a woman, later identified as Kara Elizabeth Pratt, 19, of Ontario, Canada, walking in a distressed state away from the fight. The officer stopped Pratt and told her to sit on the curb while he sorted out what had happened, but she pushed her way past and told the officer to “get the [expletive deleted] out of my way, I need to go find my boyfriend,” according to police reports.

When the officer told Pratt again to sit down on the curb, she struck him in the chest with a sandal she was carrying and then hit him several times with both hands. With the assistance of another officer, the initial officer got Pratt on the ground and restrained her, but she kicked another officer in the leg while on the ground.

Pratt was taken into custody and charged with second-degree assault, but she continued to resist arrest and fought with officers, saying at one point, “[expletive deleted] you and your horse.” She continued to flail out of control at the officers even after being placed in a violent person restraint device. While being carried to a transport wagon, Pratt allegedly spit on two other OCPD officers. Meanwhile, a crowd of about 50 people witnessed the altercation from their nearby porches and lawns.

Stalker Busted After Breaking Window

OCEAN CITY – A Baldwin, Md. man was arrested on stalking, burglary, malicious destruction and other charges last weekend after breaking the window of his ex-girlfriend’s Ocean City apartment.

Around 1:45 a.m. last Sunday, OCPD officers responded to an apartment on 73rd Street for a reported malicious destruction of property. Upon arrival, police interviewed a victim who said he ex-boyfriend had punched out a glass window in her apartment in a rage. The officers followed a blood trail down the steps of the building and along the sidewalk to Coastal Highway.

Ruzicka was located a short time later and admitted breaking the window, telling police “I got mad and I punched through the window,” and “I broke the window and I’ll man up for it.” At that point, Ruzicka was arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property and was treated by EMS for his injured hand.

The officer went back and interviewed the victim, who said she had recently broken up with Ruzicka after over three years, touching off a pattern of stalking, abuse and violent threats to herself, her friends and her male acquaintances. She said the abuse and threats started in Towson and she moved to Ocean City to avoid Ruzicka, but he followed her to the resort and was making her life miserable, according to police reports.

On the night in question, the victim returned from work and heard Ruzicka chanting “you’re a whore” louder and louder. He then ran into her apartment uninvited and threatened the victim and her friends to the point they were afraid for their lives. At was at this point that Ruzicka punched his hand through the window, according to police reports.

After listening to the testimony of various witnesses, Ruzicka was arrested upon his return from the hospital where he was treated for his injuries. He was charged with first-, third- and fourth-degree burglary, stalking and harassment and theft under $100.

Say Good Night Gracey

OCEAN CITY – A Pennsylvania man was arrested on disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and several counts of assaulting an officer last weekend after going on a tirade during which he stopped traffic on Coastal Highway.

Around 7:30 p.m. last Sunday, an OCPD officer on patrol in the area of 45th Street observed a man later identified as Eric E. Gracey, 29, of Dilsburg, Pa., walking along Coastal Highway yelling at passing cars. While the officer was watching Gracey, the suspect took off his shirt and began walking in the middle lane of Coastal Highway, causing vehicles to swerve to avoid hitting him.

Gracey also ran toward and yelled at two people on bicycles, almost causing them to wreck. At one point, Gracey stood in front of an Ocean City Public Works truck, forcing it to stop to avoid hitting him and giving the town workers inside the finger. Other officers responded and told the initial officer they had been in contact with Gracey earlier in the day when he exhibited similar antics.

At that point, the officer decided to arrest Gracey given his intoxicated state and the disorderly conduct he exhibited. While being taken into custody, Gracey resisted arrest and had to be restrained. During his arrest, Gracey kicked one officer and spit on two others. While on the ground and in custody, Gracey repeatedly banged his head on the pavement causing his head to bleed. He was ultimately subdued and charged with three counts of assaulting an officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Lap Top Thieves Snagged

OCEAN CITY – Two foreign summer workers were arrested on burglary charges last week after getting caught allegedly stealing a lap-top computer from a mid-town apartment.

On July 10, OCPD officer responded to a residence on 78th Street for a reported burglary and theft. The officers met with the victim who told them his lap-top computer valued at around $1,200 had been stolen. The victim told police his two roommates had come home from the store and saw two white males standing on their balcony.

Through the investigation, police identified two suspects, later identified as Aibek Ongarbayev, 21, and Batrybek Koshbayev, 22, both of Kazakhstan, who are living in Ocean City for the summer season. The stolen computer was recovered and returned to the owner. The two suspects have been charged with felony theft and first-degree burglary and each is being held on a $5,000 bond.

Burglary Suspects Nabbed

OCEAN CITY – Two Berlin men were arrested on burglary, theft and malicious destruction of property charges last week after resort police were able to connect them to a break-in of a business on 9th Street two weeks ago.

Back on July 9, OCPD officers responded to a report of an unsecured door at the 9th Street Market a short distance from the Boardwalk. The investigation revealed the business had been burglarized. Two days into the investigation, police were able to identify two suspects, Jermaine Hill, 22, of Berlin, and Richard Lee Huffman, 19, also of Berlin.

Both were arrested and charged with second-degree burglary, theft under $300, and malicious destruction of property. Hill and Huffman, both of whom have extensive records of theft, burglary and other charges in the resort area, are being held at the Worcester County Jail on $50,000 bonds. During the investigation, police were able to recover about $260 of the $400 stolen during the burglary as well as some unique property belonging to the victim.

Tales of Huffman II

OCEAN CITY – One day after being arrested for his part in the burglary of a business on 9th Street, Berlin resident Richard Lee Huffman was charged with burglary and theft for allegedly breaking into another resort business on 4th Street.

On July 7, OCPD officers responded to Boardwalk Joe’s on 4th Street for a reported burglary. The investigation revealed a safe containing around $400 along with various other items was stolen. A short time later, some of the contents of the safe were found in West Ocean City.

From interviews and collected evidence, OCPD detectives were able to develop Huffman, 19, and Gregory Walter Robertson, Jr., 18, of Ocean City, as suspects. Both were then charged with second-degree burglary and theft. Huffman was already in custody for the break-in of a market on 9th Street on July 9 and is being held on a $50,000 bond. Robinson is currently being held in the Worcester County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

Beer Store Burglar Sentenced

SNOW HILL – A Howard County man arrested earlier this year after police connected him to a string of several commercial burglaries in Ocean City over a 24-hour period in February was found guilty in Circuit Court last week on one count of second-degree burglary and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all suspended but two months.

Max Malamphy, 20, of Ellicott City, along with two juveniles, was charged in February with three counts of burglary and nine counts of malicious destruction of property after the Ocean City Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division was able to connect the trio to several beer and wine store break-ins over a 24-hour period beginning on Feb. 10.

Shortly after 3 a.m. on Feb. 10, OCPD officers were called to Brewski Brothers on Coastal Highway at 133rd Street for a reported burglary. Witnesses told police three men broke into the store by throwing a trashcan through the front door. The suspects stole nearly $500 in cigarettes as well as a small amount of cash.

Around 10 a.m. that morning, OCPD officers were called to the Big Tuna Grille on 128th Street for a similar burglary. In that case, police discovered a suspect or suspects had thrown a large rock through the front door to gain entry. The suspects stole 32 bottles of liquor, three cases of beer and cash. The loss totaled around $2,300.

With two similar cases already under investigation, OCPD officers began searching other businesses in the area and discovered the Gold Coast Beer and Wine store had also been burglarized. The suspects threw a chair through the front door to gain access and stole a lap-top computer, cigarettes, cigars and an I-pod totaling $3,000.

OCPD detectives were able to pin the break-ins on Malamphy and the two juveniles after discovering pictures of the three individuals possessing several of the stolen objects including considerable amounts of liquor and cigarettes. Last week in Circuit Court, Malamphy pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree burglary and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but two suspended. He was also placed on probation for three years and fined $500. The disposition of the cases for the juvenile suspects is unknown.

Five Years For Cocaine Bust

SNOW HILL – A New York man arrested in March for attempting to transport a significant amount of cocaine through Worcester County pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to five years in jail.

Umar Yunsuf Adams, 22, of Jamaica, N.Y., appeared in Circuit Court last week to face a myriad of charges stemming from an arrest on March 18. Adams pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a large amount of cocaine and was sentenced to five years in jail.

Shortly after 11 p.m. on March 18, a Maryland State Police trooper from the Berlin barrack working routine patrol on Route 13 near Pocomoke observed a 2007 Dodge Charger with an equipment violation. The trooper pulled over the vehicle for the equipment repair order and found the driver had no license and noticed both the driver and the passenger acting suspiciously.

Additional units were requested and responded to the scene of the traffic stop. A K-9 unit dog was brought in to scan the vehicle for illegal controlled dangerous substance. The dog alerted positively either in the vehicle or recently in the vehicle. Both the driver, identified as Adams, 22, and the passenger, identified as Michael Jamison, 23, of Virginia Beach, were found to be concealing large amounts of crack cocaine on their persons.

The total weight of crack cocaine seized during the search of the suspects came to about 258 grams. The estimated street value of the seized crack cocaine came in between $20,000 and $30,000.

The suspect’s vehicle was towed to the Maryland State Police barrack in Berlin for a more thorough search. During the search, troopers found a hidden compartment in the center console of the vehicle and inside the compartment was a loaded handgun.

Adams and Jamison were each charged with transporting crack cocaine across state lines, possession of large amounts of crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substance and possession of a loaded handgun. Jamison appeared in Circuit Court last week and also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute and received the same sentence.

Drug Dealer Sentenced

SNOW HILL – A Berlin woman arrested last October on drug distribution charges following a five-month investigation during which she sold marijuana to undercover OCPD narcotics officers several times from her place of employment pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which but one month was suspended.

Leigh Ann Wimbrow, 19, of Berlin, was arrested last October while working at Bahama Mama’s Crab House in Ocean City. During the five months leading up to her arrest, OCPD undercover narcotics agents purchased marijuana from Wimbrow several times from the seafood market while she was working.

At the time of her arrest, she was in possession of marijuana, a digital scale and around $300 in cash. Wimbrow was charged with six counts of drug distribution and related offenses. Last week, she pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but one month suspended. She was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500.

Guilty Plea In Handgun, Drug Case

OCEAN CITY – A Salisbury man arrested in January on drug and weapons charges after a loaded handgun was found in his center console during a routine traffic stop pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to over a year in jail with all but four days suspended.

On Jan. 7, OCPD Cpl. Richard Wawrzeniak stopped a vehicle on Baltimore Ave. at 20th Street for a license plate violation. Upon contacting the vehicle’s driver, Vincent Rascona, 21, of Salisbury, and its passenger, Ryan Brawner, 22, also of Salisbury, the officer noticed the strong odor of marijuana.

While searching the vehicle, the officer discovered a Taurus .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol in the center console. The gun had been reported stolen in Wicomico. Officers also located a plastic bag with a significant amount of marijuana along with a box of sandwich-size baggies and a digital scale.

The investigation revealed Brawner owned the vehicle but Rascona was driving because Brawner’s license was suspended. Brawner was charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, misdemeanor theft, and possession of a handgun in a drug trafficking scheme. Rascona was charged with possession of marijuana.

Last week, Brawner pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all of which was suspended but four days. He also pleaded guilty to wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun and was sentenced to a year in jail, all of which was suspended, resulting in a net four days in jail for both offenses. Rascona, who was driving the vehicle at the time, pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana in District Court earlier this year and was fined $300.

Stolen Cell Phone ID’s Suspect

WEST OCEAN CITY – A Dagsboro, Del. man was arrested last week on assault and theft charges after a cell phone stolen from his victim helped identify the suspect.

Shortly before 9 p.m. on July 4, Maryland State Police troopers responded to the Park-and-Ride in West Ocean City for a reported theft and assault. The investigation revealed the suspect, Miyo Torres Castro, Jr., had a verbal argument that escalated into a physical altercation with an unidentified victim.

According to police reports, Castro punched the victim and stole his cell phone. Castro then fled the scene and was later located. A search of Castro turned up the victim’s cell phone. He was charged with second-degree assault and theft less than $100. Castro was taken before a court commissioner and released on his own recognizance.

Fugitive Arrested After Traffic Stop

BERLIN – A Berlin man wanted on an active warrant from Montgomery County was arrested on drug charges last weekend after police alerted on suspicious activity at a gas station on Route 50.

Around 3:45 a.m. last Sunday, Maryland State Police troopers responded to Raceway Citgo on Route 50 in reference to two suspicious vehicles. Upon investigation, troopers discovered a male suspect, identified as James Victor Gingrich, 33, of Berlin, was wanted on an active warrant from Montgomery County and he was taken into custody.

A search of the vehicle turned up a vial of cocaine, a smoking device with marijuana residue and a prescription pill bottle with the label removed. A second suspect, identified as Annette Unkle, 42, of Lusby, Md., who was standing outside the vehicle when police arrived, admitted driving it from Ocean City. She was released at the scene, but charges are pending.

Drunken Trespasser Arrested

WEST OCEAN CITY – A Virginia man was arrested on trespassing and disorderly conduct charges on the Fourth of July after police found him passed out in front of a West Ocean City restaurant.

Around 10:30 p.m. on July 4, Maryland State Police troopers responded to the Applebee’s restaurant on Route 50 in West Ocean City for a reported disorderly conduct complaint. Troopers met with the restaurant manager who told them the suspect, later identified as Miguel Angelo Gonzalez, of Alexandria, Va., was intoxicated and passed out next to a bush near the restaurant’s entrance.

The manager told police she asked Gonzalez to leave several times during the course of the night, but he refused to do so. When police made contact with Gonzalez, they found him to be extremely intoxicated. He was taken into custody and charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct.

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