Year-Long Investigation Nets Three Drug Arrests

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OCEAN CITY – Ocean City police narcotics agents this week made a significant drug bust in the resort after a year-long investigation into three individuals.

The primary subject of the investigation was Claiton Pacheco, 38, of Ocean City, whom detectives had suspected of distributing narcotics for the last 12 months. This week, OCPD narcotics detectives executed a search and seizure warrant at Pacheco’s residence on 43rd Street. Once inside, police located Pacheco along with two other suspects including Paul Young, 27, of Edgewater, Md., and Ashleigh Ann Smith, 30, of Ocean City.

Inside the residence, police recovered crack cocaine and numerous items of drug paraphernalia. Pacheco was arrested and charged with seven counts of distributing cocaine, eight counts of possession of cocaine and one count of possession of crack cocaine. Young and Smith were charged with possession of crack cocaine and possession of paraphernalia. During the investigation, it was also learned Smith was wanted on an outstanding warrant for her arrest in Anne Arundel County.

All three suspects were taken before an Ocean City District Court Commissioner. Pacheco was ordered held on a $200,000 bond, while Smith was ordered held on a $5,000 bond. Young was later released on his own recognizance. Following their appearances before the District Court Commissioner, Pacheco and Smith were transferred to the Worcester County Jail.

Cop Assault

OCEAN CITY – A Georgetown, Del. woman was arrested on an assault charge last weekend after allegedly striking an OCPD officer outside a mid-town nightclub.

Around 1:30 a.m. last Sunday, an OCPD officer responded to Fager’s Island for a report of disorderly subjects. Upon arrival, the officer observed several people being asked to leave the property by the management. While the officer was issuing trespassing warnings to the individuals, a woman, later identified as Kathy Pettyjohn, 24, of Georgetown, Del., started screaming. Pettyjohn was screaming the security staff of the nightclub was racist because they would not let her friends into the establishment.

The officer approached Pettyjohn and warned her to lower her voice or run the risk of a disorderly conduct arrest. According to police reports, Pettyjohn was yelling loudly enough to draw the attention of several other patrons in the parking lot. As the officer started to speak to Pettyjohn further, she allegedly struck the officer in the chest with an open right hand and turned her back and started to walk away. At that point, Pettyjohn was arrested for second-degree assault on a police officer.

Juveniles Busted With Pot

BERLIN – Two juveniles were arrested on marijuana possession charges last weekend after a routine traffic stop in Berlin.

Around 7:38 p.m. last Sunday, a Maryland State Police trooper on routine patrol stopped a 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis for a traffic violation on Harrison Rd. in Berlin. Upon contact with the vehicle, the trooper detected a strong odor of burnt marijuana coming from inside. A probable cause search revealed marijuana inside the vehicle.

In addition, two baggies of suspected fake controlled dangerous substance were located in the vehicle. The baggies were packaged in a way consistent with intent to distribute. Both juveniles were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. They were released to their parents pending action from the Department of Juvenile Services.

Jail Time For Cocaine Bust

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man arrested on drug charges in January last week pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and was sentenced to five years in jail with all but 18 months suspended.

In January, a Maryland State Police trooper pulled over a 2002 Pontiac for a traffic violation on Germantown Rd. near Trappe Rd. in Berlin. When the trooper approached the vehicle, he smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from the driver, later identified as Matthew Kee, 35, of Berlin.

When Kee was asked to step out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests, a standard pat down for potential weapons revealed a bag of powder cocaine on Kee’s person. During the subsequent investigation, it was also learned there was a bench warrant on Kee for failing to appear in court for a previous drug arrest.

Last week, Kee pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to five years in jail. All but 18 months of the sentenced was suspended and Kee was also fined $500.

Brief Case Swiper Sentenced

SNOW HILL – A Berlin woman arrested in October for swiping a brief case containing $7,000 in cash from a man whose wife she was taking care of was found guilty last week in Circuit Court of felony theft over $500 and was sentenced to two years in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of fines and restitution to the victim.

On Oct. 3, an elderly West Ocean City man contacted the Maryland State Police after discovering a brief case containing roughly $7,000 in cash was missing from his home. The 83-year-old victim had hired nursing assistants to help him care for his wife, who has Parkinson’s Disease, and paid them $10 an hour in cash from the brief case he kept in his home.

On Oct. 2, one of the hired nursing assistants, Tabatha Downes, was on duty when the victim took the brief case from its usual position beside his chair in the living room into the kitchen where he paid Downes $60 for her shift. While Downes helped prepare the victim’s wife for bed, a friend of the victim pulled out in front of the house and the victim went out to the porch to converse with him. Downes had gone by the time the victim came back inside.

The next day, a different nursing assistant arrived in the morning and the victim went to get something out of the brief case, but discovered it was not in its usual spot. The victim and the nursing assistant searched all over the house but could not find the brief case full of cash. The one thing they did find that was unusual, however, was a rarely used back door to the residence that was always locked with a chain, a deadbolt and a door handle lock was amiss.

The chain was in place, but the other two locks were not locked. The police investigated and determined while Downes was tending to the victim’s wife in the back room, she placed the brief case near the backdoor and came back for it while the victim was on the front porch, opening the back door only wide enough to grab the brief case as the chain would allow.

Downes was ultimately charged with felony theft over $500. Last week in Circuit Court, Downes was found guilty and sentenced to two years in jail. The sentence was then suspended in favor of probation and a $500 fine. She was also ordered to pay $7,000 in restitution to the victim, which must be paid before she starts paying any fines or court costs.

Probation For Cop Impersonator

SNOW HILL – A Philadelphia man arrested last fall in Ocean City for impersonating a police officer and later resisting arrest was found guilty last week in Circuit Court and received probation before judgment.

Around 2 a.m. on Sept. 1, OCPD officers were placing suspects in a transport wagon after an incident near a mid-town nightclub. While they were loading the suspects, an unidentified man approached them and told the officers he was prepared to write a statement about their actions.

The man identified himself to OCPD officers as Claude Chalk and told them he was a Philadelphia police officer and that one of the men they were arresting should not have been arrested. Chalk also told the OCPD they were out of line and alluded to the fact they had used excessive force during the arrest.

An OCPD officer questioned Chalk and he again said he was a Philadelphia police officer. The OCPD officer then asked Chalk several basic questions any Philly cop should know the answers to everyday, but Chalk could not provide the answers. When the OCPD officer told Chalk he did not believe he was a police officer, Chalk relented and said he was in the police academy and had been for about three weeks.

Chalk could not produce any identification when asked, nor could he produce any contact information for a Philadelphia police supervisor or the police academy. The OCPD officer now believed Chalk was not who he said he was and asked him to sit on the curb. Chalk then struck the officer with his shoulder and took off running, but he was quickly apprehended. A struggle ensued and Chalk and the officer ultimately ended up on the ground.

Meanwhile, a crowd of 60-70 people had gathered in the area including several other OCPD officers. Chalk eventually had to be subdued with a strike from a baton by the officer. OCPD officers were later able to ascertain Chalk’s real identity was Claude Michael Johnson, 26, of Philadelphia. He was charged with impersonating an officer, disorderly conduct, two counts of second-degree assault and making a false statement to an officer. Last week, he was found guilty of impersonating an officer and resisting arrest, but the finding of guilt was struck and he was placed on supervised probation for one year. He was also fined a total of $500 and ordered to pay $170 in restitution to the OCPD.

Stet Docket For Alleged

Sex Assault Cover Up

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City couple arrested in January and charged as accessories after the fact for allegedly covering up a convicted killer’s sexual assault and abuse on their own daughter a little over a month before the murder had the charges against them put on the stet, or inactive, docket this week in Circuit Court.

In early January, convicted killer Roberto Antonio Murillo was sentenced to life in prison for the stabbing death of a local woman in her West Ocean City home. Hours after sentencing, Murillo was formally charged with sexual assault and abuse on his 16-year-old niece in the Mystic Harbor residence where he lived with the victim’s parents, Roberto Murillo’s brother Luis and his wife Josefina.

About a week later, Luis and Josefina Murillo were arrested and charged as accessories after the fact for allegedly covering up the actions of their brother and brother-in-law against their own daughter.

The new charges against Roberto Murillo stemmed from an interview with the alleged victim conducted by a Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detective and a county social worker on Dec, 31, just days before Murillo’s sentencing hearing for his conviction in the Parker murder. In the interview, the victim told investigators the first incident happened in October 2006 when Murillo allegedly pulled the girl onto his lap and attempted to kiss her and put his hand inside her pants.

According to the victim, a similar incident occurred in August 2007 when Murillo allegedly knelt down beside the victim in her parents’ home where he also lived and again placed his hands inside her pants in an attempt to touch her genital area. In that incident, the victim told investigators she was able to thwart his advances.

Finally, in March 2008, another alleged incident occurred just one month before the murder that perhaps foreshadowed the terrible incident that had yet occurred. According to the victim, on March 1, Murillo knocked on her bedroom door, and when she opened it, he pushed her to the floor and placed his hand over her mouth. When the victim struggled, Murillo allegedly placed a knife to her throat and said he “would kill her” if she continued to make noise. According to police reports, the victim’s parents then came in the room at which time Murillo hid in a closet while the victim fled the room.

Based on the victim’s testimony, Murillo was formerly charged last Monday afternoon with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and attempted child abuse. However, it wasn’t until days later that the victim’s parents, Luis and Josefina Murillo, were arrested and charged as accessories in the crimes.

In October, the Worcester County detective and the social worker interviewed Josefina Murillo about her knowledge of the alleged attacks carried out on her daughter by her brother-in-law Roberto Murillo. Josefina Murillo told investigators her daughter had told her about the three attacks, and that she and her husband, Luis Murillo, had questioned Roberto about the incidents but he denied the allegations.

Last week in Circuit Court, Luis and Josefina Murillo appeared to face three counts each of accessory after the statute because they allegedly knew Roberto Murillo had sexually abused their daughter and covered up the illegal activity. The charges against them were put on the stet, or inactive, docket.

Downtown Brawlers Cleared

SNOW HILL – Two local men arrested on assault and other charges in October after two incidents that allegedly started in a downtown bar and moved to an uptown restaurant were both found not guilty last week in Circuit Court.

Shortly before 2 a.m. on Oct. 27, an OCPD officer working plainclothes patrol in the downtown area observed two males, later identified as Mark Allen Meekins, 27, of Ocean City, and Ronald Eugene Flawd, 33, also of Ocean City, fighting in the doorway of the Harbor Inn bar. As the two men continued to hit each other, other bar patrons urged them to stop fighting and push the combatants out the front door.

Once outside the bar, Flawd allegedly charged toward another man, identified as Andrew Harris, who was standing about 40 feet away from the bar with a female. Flawd charged toward Harris and began yelling obscenities at him, raised his fist and began flailing at the other man. Flawd reportedly first removed his sweatshirt and later his T-shirt and threw them on the ground, urging Harris to fight with him.

Flawd reportedly came after Harris again, this time with closed fists flailing, but the other man continued to walk away in order to avoid the confrontation, according to police reports. By this time, the OCPD officer interceded and arrested Flawd, charging him with disorderly conduct and second-degree assault for his fight first with Meekins and later his attempted fight with Harris. Meanwhile, Meekins had left the scene, but he was not finished his antics for the night.

Later, around 3:25 a.m. on Monday, OCPD officers responded to Denny’s Restaurant on 112th Street for a 911 call hang-up. Upon arrival, OCPD officers met with a couple and another independent witness who outlined what had happened. According to the couple, they had driven Meekins to Denny’s when he offered to buy them breakfast in exchange for a ride. During the ride, Meekins allegedly asked the couple how much money they had between them and discussed what they believed was a drug deal.

When the couple and Meekins arrived at Denny’s, Meekins reportedly spoke to another female, who allegedly told him he was too late for the drug deal and that he had missed his contact. The couple told police it was then they realized Meekins had used them to gain a ride to Denny’s under false pretenses and there never was to be any free breakfast.

According to police reports, an argument then ensued with Meekins reportedly pulling the male out of the truck and throwing him to ground while punching him in the head after the couple refused to allow Meekins back in the vehicle. The victim told police Meekins ripped the front pocket of his jeans and stole $40 from him. The female of the couple came around, pulled Meekins from the male and called 911 before hanging up.

Another independent witness on the scene corroborated the story. Meekins was arrested and charged with strong-arm robbery, second-degree assault, theft and malicious destruction of property. Last week, Meekins and Flawd appeared in Circuit Court for separate trials related to the same incident. They were both found not guilty.

Appeal Dropped In Riot Case

SNOW HILL – A Salisbury man, one of 15 arrested during a major riot involving hundreds at a downtown underage nightclub on the Fourth of July last summer, last week dropped an appeal of his conviction on assault and resisting arrest charges and will continue to serve out the rest of his one-year sentence.

In February, Davion Dashiell, 18, of Salisbury, was found guilty of assaulting and officer and resisting arrest for his part in the July 4 melee outside a downtown underage nightclub last summer and was sentenced to one year in jail. Dashiell appealed the conviction and was set to appear in Circuit Court last week, but he withdrew the appeal and will serve out the sentence.

The major riot involving hundreds at a downtown underage nightclub provided fireworks of a different sort as 15 arrests were made and three Ocean City police officers were injured in a fight attributed to gang activity. Around 9:20 p.m. last July 4, as thousands of vacationers and residents scrambled to safety from a severe storm after the fireworks display downtown concluded, OCPD officers responded to the H20 underage nightclub on Worcester Street for a reported fight in progress. Before police were able to gain control of the scene, several more fights broke out in the area.

Initially, there were nine OCPD officers trying to control a fight involving over 75 people inside the nightclub. After club management was forced to close the establishment and OCPD officers began to remove the combatants, several more fights broke out both inside the club and outside. According to police reports, roughly 300 to 400 people were involved in the various fights in and around the underage club and 63 OCPD officers were brought in to attempt to bring order back to the area.

After about 40 minutes, police were able to clear the area and restore some semblance of order. After interviewing several of the suspects, resort police determined the fight was started by member of rival gangs based in Salisbury. Three OCPD officers were injured during the melee and were treated at Atlantic General Hospital. Officer Chris Reichard suffered a broken nose and Officer Kevin Dagstani was treated for a knee injury. In one instance of friendly fire, Pfc. Mike Richardson was treated for bite wounds after his K-9 dog became agitated by the crowd. One suspect was treated for a cut on his arm.

Three of the other suspects arrested, including Monte Murray, 19, of Georgetown, Del., Marvin Snead, 18, of Millsboro, and Tamir Armour, 18, of Salisbury, appeared earlier this year for trial and were found guilty, placed on probation and fined. Two others, Enrique Vasquez, 18, of Reading, Pa., and Christopher Gonzalez, 18, also of Reading, failed to appear for trial and now have warrants out for their arrests. One of the suspects, Brandon Smart, 19, of Salisbury, was found not guilty. Eight of the 15 arrested during the riot were juveniles and the dispositions of their cases are not known.

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