Drugs, Loaded Handgun Arrest

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OCEAN CITY – A Denton, Md. man was arrested for carrying a loaded handgun in downtown Ocean City last week after an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer observed him and another man smoking marijuana while walking down the street.

Around 3 p.m. last Thursday, an OCPD officer on bicycle patrol observed two men walking down the street in the area of 11th Street and Baltimore Ave. with one of the men smoking what appeared to be marijuana. The officer approached the suspect, later identified as Joseph Allen Downes, 21, of Denton, and asked if he was in possession of marijuana. At first, Downes denied being in possession of pot, but later admitted he was not only in possession of drugs, but also a handgun.

The handgun, a Jennings .22 caliber long-rifle model J-22, was loaded with two rounds in the magazine. In addition to the gun, Downes was found in possession of one bag of crack cocaine, one bag of powder cocaine, five bags of marijuana, one partially burned marijuana cigar and $270 in cash. Downes was arrested on nine separate charges relating to narcotics and weapons violations including possession, possession with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and ordered held on a $100,000 bond.

DUI Twice in Five Hours

OCEAN CITY – A Woodbine, Md. woman was arrested for drunk driving twice in the span of about five hours early last Friday morning.

Around 2:15 a.m. last Friday, an OCPD officer on marked patrol in the area of 22nd Street observed a woman, later identified as Jennifer Bowlin, 20, swerving across lane markers and failing to stop at a stop sign. A traffic stop was initiated and Bowlin was ultimately arrested for driving under the influence and various other traffic violations. She was taken into custody, processed and later released on her own recognizance after appearing before a District Court Commissioner.

However, about five hours later at around 7 a.m., OCPD officers witnessed Bowlin get back in her vehicle and drive to the area of 28th Street. According to Maryland law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle within 12 hours after being arrested for DUI. Officers immediately arrested Bowlin again, charging her with driving under the influence, driving while impaired, driving within 12 hours after her previous arrest and other charges. For the second arrest, Bowlin was again taken before a District Court Commissioner who this time ordered her held on a $25,000 bond.

Suspended Sentence For Cop Assault

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City man arrested in April on numerous charges after first fighting with cops and later flooding his holding cell at police headquarters was found guilty last week in Circuit Court of second-degree assault and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was suspended but the time he served while awaiting trial.

Around 12:30 a.m. on April 5, an OCPD bicycle officer on routine patrol in the area of a downtown underage nightclub observed a vehicle driven by a man, later identified as Michael V. Rayne, 21, of Ocean City, pull into the street in front of club and stop, blocking traffic behind him. Club staffers told Rayne to move his vehicle out of the way, but he refused to comply. After watching the scene unfold, the OCPD officer also told Rayne to move the vehicle and continued to disobey the lawful order.

Finally, the officer told Rayne to pull forward so he could conduct a traffic stop and the suspect pulled into a nearby parking lot and put the vehicle in park. However, Rayne then got out of the vehicle and started to walk away. The officer commanded Rayne to get back in his vehicle while he conducted the traffic stop, but Rayne refused the command. When ordered to stop, Rayne allegedly told police “it’s not my car,” and “I wasn’t driving.”

The initial officer called for backup because he noticed Rayne taking an aggressive stance as if he wanted to fight. Meanwhile, his actions caused a crowd of 20-30 onlookers to gather around. Rayne then threw his baseball cap on the ground and tensed his upper body, forming his hands into clenched fists and taking an aggressive fighting stance toward the officer, according to police reports on the incident.

A second officer arrived along with his K-9 partner and also ordered Rayne onto the ground, but the suspect refused to comply. Finally, Rayne did comply and was handcuffed, but he did not stop his aggression toward the OCPD officers, according to police reports. Once cuffed, Rayne reported began flailing his arms and kicking with both legs. Despite orders to calm down, Rayne continued to fight with the officers and spit on one of the officer’s legs before a third officer placed a violent person restraint on him.

Rayne was ultimately transported for processing to police headquarters, where it was learned he was driving on a revoked license. While in a temporary holding area at police headquarters, Rayne reportedly continued his aggressive behavior, striking his cell door, the walls and the fixed bed. He then proceeded to overflow the toilet in his cell, causing water to overflow from the basin onto the floor of his cell and into the entire male holding facility. The damage to the cell and holding area is estimated at over $500.

No New Jail Time For Burglary

SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested in October after police connected him to a series of credit card thefts in the Ocean Pines community pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to one count of third-degree burglary and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, all of which was suspended but the time he already served.

On Oct. 20, Ocean Pines Police arrested Michael Anthony Mason, 41, of Ocean City, on multiple counts of burglary and theft as well as theft related to credit cards from a victim he was known to be living with in Ocean Pines. Mason has been charged with first-, third- and fourth-degree burglary, trespassing and theft related to credit cards.

Last week in Circuit Court, Mason pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree burglary and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Sixty days of his sentence was then suspended and he was given credit for the 30 days he spent in jail awaiting trial, resulting in no new jail time. He was also placed on probation for 18 months and fined $500.

First Riot Suspects Hit Court

OCEAN CITY – The first of eight suspects arrested during a major riot on the south end of the Boardwalk on Memorial Day weekend started hitting the court system last week with varying results, although many of the combatants have not yet appeared for trial.

The brawl on the Boardwalk near Wicomico Street on Saturday, May 24, resulted in nine arrests and several officers assaulted. What began as an argument hours earlier escalated into the riot with dozens of OCPD officers, along with some private citizens, battling with the combatants to restore order. The situation was finally calmed when OCPD mounted patrol officers were able to separate the combatants.

OCPD officers responded to the area and made their way through the Boardwalk crowd and eventually located the group arguing. According to police reports, OCPD officers were able to break up the argument before a fight began, but a portion of the group continued to walk down the Boardwalk, screaming and cursing loudly in the presence of some families who were still enjoying the holiday getaway.

While officers attempted to restore order a second time, one of the individuals, later identified as Marlon Ennis, 24, of Salisbury, continued to act disorderly by cursing and refusing the OCPD’s requests to stop using profanity and act in a threatening manner. As one officer attempted to arrest Ennis, the disorderly suspect resisted and assaulted the officer numerous times, touching off what would become a full-scale riot.

Several other members of Ennis’s group joined the fray and began assaulting the arresting officer. Ennis was eventually taken into custody. During his arrest, a female later identified as Mary Elizabeth Elzey, 21, of Baltimore, also assaulted police officers and attempted to obstruct the police from arresting Ennis. Elzey was also taken into custody and removed from the incident.

However, the arrests of Ennis and Elzey only fueled the melee as several other fights related to the first incident broke out on the Boardwalk. Over 40 officers responded to the scene as well as units from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryland State Police.

The riot escalated with several of the combatants jumping on the backs of officers, who at first were trying to get control of the suspects but soon were just trying to protect themselves. A couple of bouncers from the Cork Bar nearby reportedly came to the assistance of the officers involved in the fight in an attempt to diffuse the situation. By then, the Boardwalk crowd had formed a large circle with fights going on in the middle.

When all was said and done, nine people were arrested, including one juvenile, and charged with a variety of offenses. Two weeks ago, the trial dates for those arrested started to come up. For example, Ronald Elzey, 28, of Baltimore, charged with second-degree assault on a police officer and resisting arrest, was scheduled for trial on June 24 but failed to appear and had a warrant sworn out on him.

Marcus Monk, 30, of Washington, D.C., was charged with failure to obey a police officer, but was found not guilty last week. However, Brandon Hilliard, 30, of Berlin, was found guilty this week of disorderly conduct and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Court dates for the other combatants in the May 24 riot on the Boardwalk are scheduled for later this summer.

Suspended Sentence For Theft

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man charged early this year with theft after swiping nearly $1,800 in cash from an elderly Ocean City woman was found guilty this week in Circuit Court of one count of theft under $500 and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of probation, a fine and restitution to the victim.

On Jan. 2, OCPD detectives responded to a downtown condo for a reported theft that had already occurred. The victim, a 78-year-old Ocean City resident, told police she was counting and sorting money on her coffee table and couch when three visitors arrived including Pasco L. Allen III, 37, of Berlin. Allen arrived at the condo with a woman and a small child under the guise of presenting the victim with a gift of a picnic basket. According to police reports, Allen had done some maintenance work for the victim and she was familiar with him and those with him.

According to police reports, the victim said she was a little surprised at how much time and energy Pasco spent showing her the basket and how it worked, all while sitting in the couch with the money the victim was counting in plain view. The victim said Pasco was acting strangely and his hands were shaking during the visit. The victim said she did not think anything more of it until she went back to counting and organizing her money and realized a significant amount of it was missing.

The victim told police she had cashed a check for $3,000 and had spent some of it, leaving her with $2,925 in cash in $100, $50 and $20 bills. After Pasco, his female companion and the child left after giving the victim the present, the victim said $1,830 of the cash she had laid out on the table was missing.

The next day, OCPD detectives called Pasco about the missing money, and after assurances he was not under arrest, he agreed to talk. Pasco denied taking the money, but did admit seeing it laid out on the table. About three weeks later, detectives interviewed Pasco’s friend that accompanied him to the victim’s condo and she told police she did not see him take the money. However, she did tell police she saw Pasco with a large amount of currency following the visit including $100 and $20 bills. After more questioning, the female suspect told police Pasco had admitted stealing the money. She said it was not the first time he came back with large amounts of cash. One time, he said he found cash near the dumpster at the victim’s condo, and another time he said he got a bonus at work.

Based on the testimony, Pasco and the female companion were charged with theft under $500. This week in Circuit Court, Pasco entered an Alford plea to the theft charge and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. The sentence was then suspended and he was placed on probation for two years and fined $500. He was also ordered to pay $1,830 in restitution to the victim. In a separate proceeding, the charges against the female companion were placed on the stet, or inactive, docket.

Fine for Drugs, Weapons

OCEAN CITY – An Abington, Md. man was arrested in March on drug and weapons charges along with driving while intoxicated following a routine traffic stop in downtown Ocean City pleaded guilty this week to possession of paraphernalia and was fined $300.

Shortly after 8 p.m. on March 22, an OCPD officer on patrol in the 12th Street area observed a vehicle driving at a high rate of speed and change lanes suddenly. The vehicle stopped at a red light at 8th Street, but when the light changed, it spun its wheels and continued on at a high rate of speed. The officer tailed the vehicle and clocked it going 45 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone.

The officer pulled over the vehicle and approached the driver, later identified as Phillip J. Fragoso, 21, of Abington. A K-9 unit arrived on the scene and conducted a scan of Fragoso’s vehicle and K-9 Charlie alerted on the driver’s side door where a small amount of marijuana was found. While the officers searched the vehicle, the discovered a long, straight-bladed knife in the center console.

While questioning Fragoso, the officers reported smelling the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person. When the officer asked Fragoso how much he had to drink that night, the suspect reportedly told police “more than you.”

Fragoso was ultimately charged with driving under the influence, driving while impaired, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, and possession of a concealed deadly weapon. This week in District Court, Fragoso pleaded guilty to possession of paraphernalia and was fined $300. The other charges against him were dropped.

Warrant Sworn For Alleged Dealer

OCEAN CITY – A Glen Burnie man arrested in May after selling pot to undercover OCPD officers on the Boardwalk failed to appear this week for trial and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest.

On May 23, two OCPD undercover officers were working on the Boardwalk attempting to purchase controlled dangerous substances from individuals. While walking on the Boardwalk in the area of 4th Street at around 11:20 p.m., the officers heard a man, later identified as Ontavius White, 20, of Odenton, asking another man if he was looking for “trees,” a widely known slang term for marijuana. At the time, White was sitting next to another man later identified as Cory Ridolfi, 19, of Glen Burnie.

The officer approached White and Ridolfi and asked them if they had any “tree.” According to police reports, White looked at Ridolfi and said “Yeah, we can hook you up all day, everyday,” and Ridolfi said “it’s in the whip.”

White told the two undercover officers to follow him to his car and they began to walk with him north on the Boardwalk toward 5th Street. During the walk, the officers engaged in a conversation with White about CDS. Ridolfi and White asked the officers how much pot they were looking to buy and the officers responded they would take a gram or whatever they could get. They ultimately agreed to purchase a gram for $15.

At that point, an unidentified man joined the group, and White and Ridolfi ran across Baltimore Ave. before the officers could safely cross. They headed north on Wilmington Ave. The officers followed and White and Ridoli emerged from Wilmington Lane a short time later. The deal was consummated with the officers handing over $15 in cash from the OCPD confidential funds, which had been photocopied earlier to record the serial numbers. Uniformed officers then arrived on the scene and arrested Ridolfi and White for conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

This week, Ridolfi failed to appear for trial in Circuit Court and had a warrant sworn out for his arrest. White is scheduled to appear for trial on August 28.

Guilty Of Possession

SNOW HILL – A Severn man arrested on drug and other charges in February after a National Park Service ranger observed his vehicle blocking traffic pleaded guilty this week to possession of paraphernalia and was fined $300.

Around 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 22, a National Park Ranger assigned to the Assateague Island National Seashore initiated a traffic stop on Ronald L. Arnold Jr., 43, for allegedly obstructing traffic along Bayberry Drive. The ranger called Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) to the scene for back-up after observing Arnold and his passenger consuming alcoholic beverages.

During the course of the stop, NRP charged Arnold with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), marijuana, and possession of CDS paraphernalia. Arnold was also charged by the National Park Ranger with possession of an open container of alcoholic beverage. This week, Arnold pleaded guilty to possession of paraphernalia and was fined $300.

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