Fugitive Nabbed

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OCEAN CITY – A routine traffic stop last weekend in Ocean City led to the arrest of a man wanted on serious charges including first-degree assault and armed robbery in two other Maryland counties.

Around 10:44 p.m. last Saturday, Ocean City Police made a traffic stop on Coastal Highway in the area of 38th Street. The suspect, later identified as Christopher McCray, 24, of Washington, D.C., at first gave OCPD officers a false name and date of birth. However, it was later determined the suspect, identified as McCray, had two active warrants out for his arrest.

McCray was wanted in St. Mary’s County for failure to appear for a court date and in Prince George’s County for first-degree assault and armed robbery. In addition to being served with the out-of-county warrants, McCray was charged locally with driving a vehicle without rear registration illumination, driving without a license, giving a false and fictitious name to police and other traffic charges.

McCray was taken before an Ocean City District Court Commissioner and was ordered held on a $5,000 bond. In addition, McCray was transferred to the Worcester County Jail with a detainer and warrant from both St. Mary’s and Prince George’s Counties, along with the local charges.

Crash Sends Three To Hospital

BERLIN – An early evening crash last week sent three Berlin residents to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Around 5:45 p.m. on Oct. 23, Berlin Police responded to a reported two-vehicle crash at Branch Street and Franklin Ave. The investigation revealed a vehicle operated by Regina Moore, 55, of Berlin, committed a stop sign violation at the “T” intersection and collided with another vehicle operated by George Steininger, Jr. 26, of Berlin. A 10-year-old juvenile female was also in the vehicle with Moore.

Neither Moore nor her juvenile passenger was wearing seatbelts at the time of the collision and both had to be transported to the hospital. Steininger, Jr. was also transported to the hospital for precautionary measures. None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, according to Berlin Police.

Next Morning Charges

BERLIN – A Pocomoke man was arrested on drunk-driving charges in Berlin last Sunday morning after admittedly partying at an Ocean City hotel the night before.

Around 10:45 a.m. last Sunday, Berlin Police observed a 1985 Chevy truck operating in a reckless manner on Route 113 near Route 346 in Berlin. Berlin Police stopped the truck, which was occupied by a total of six passengers, two of whom were in the rear bed of the vehicle. The driver, identified as Ethan James Long, 19, of Pocomoke, was administered field sobriety tests, resulting in his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence and other related charges.

During the investigation, Long admitted to having been at an underage drinking party at a hotel in Ocean City the night before. Two cases of beer and a bottle of liquor were confiscated. Each of the remaining occupants in the vehicle were under the age of 21 as well. Long was released from the Berlin Police Department after processing.

Dealers Convicted

SNOW HILL – A pair of Baltimore residents arrested during a drug raid in Ocean City in March after resort police got a tip they were in town to peddle their wares each pleaded guilty this week to various charges and received similar sentences in separate trials in Circuit Court.

In March, members of the Ocean City Police Department’s narcotics unit received information about two individuals who arrived in Ocean City from Baltimore with a quantity of drugs. The two individuals, Vicky L. Brown, 53, of Baltimore, and Antwan D. Brown, 26, of Baltimore, were identified and located at the Parrot Lagoon Apartments on St. Louis Ave.

Armed with a search and seizure warrant, the OCPD’s Quick Response Team (QRT) raided the apartment in question and recovered crack cocaine, approximately a quarter of a pound of marijuana, packaging materials and over $2,700 in U.S. currency. Vicky Brown was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and possession of crack cocaine and marijuana. Antwan Brown was arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

This week in Circuit Court, Antwan Brown pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was sentenced to two years in jail, all but two months of which were suspended. Antwan Brown was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500.

In a separate trial on Tuesday, Vicky Brown entered an Alford Plea to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to three years in jail. All but three months of Vicky Brown’s sentence was suspended and she was placed on probation for 18 months and fined $500.

Probation For Oxycodone Conspirator

SNOW HILL – A Fenwick Island, Del. man arrested on drug distribution charges in July after local and federal law enforcement officials connected him to the kingpin of a major oxycodone distribution ring covering three states including Maryland pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to manufacturing and distributing the illegal narcotic, but was granted probation and fined.

In October, Joseph Bimonte, 45, of Freehold, N.J., pleaded guilty in federal court to a drug conspiracy charge and now faces as many as 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $1 million. This week in Worcester County Circuit Court, one of Bimonte’s street-level dealers, John Tarr, 28, of Fenwick Island, pleaded guilty to distributing oxycodone, but was granted probation before judgment, placed on supervised probation for two years and fined $500.

OCPD detectives initiated the investigation, which began in April 2007, after they learned large quantities of oxycodone pills, in the form of oxycontin, roxicodone and percocet, were being distributed in the Ocean City area. OCPD detectives enlisted the help of federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials after learning the scope of the investigation reached far beyond Ocean City’s jurisdiction.

Throughout the investigation, an OCPD undercover narcotics detective was able to make 14 individual hand-to-hand purchases for more than 600 oxycodone pills from the suspects in the case including nine from the alleged kingpin in the drug distribution ring, identified as Bimonte.

According to the plea agreement reached in October, Bimonte sold large amounts of oxycodone to the OCPD detective on nine different occasions from July 19, 2007 to April 26, 2008. In total, from May 2007 to August 2008, Bimonte sold tens of thousands of milligrams of oxycodone to undercover narcotics detectives, or roughly the equivalent of 400 to 700 kilograms of marijuana, according to federal prosecutors.

In July 2007, the investigation revealed Tarr was involved in the drug ring and was selling hundreds of oxycodone pills per month and that his main supplier was a dealer in New Jersey, later identified as Bimonte. OCPD detectives along with federal DEA officers set up surveillance on Tarr and an undercover officer arranged to make a purchase from the street level dealer. Shortly after the buy was arranged, surveillance captured Tarr meeting with Bimonte and taped phone messages confirmed Bimonte was Tarr’s source for the illegal drugs.

Incidentally, Bimonte and his family were once featured on the television reality show “Wife Swap.” In addition, during the same time period Bimonte was linked to four supplementary pharmaceutical drug diversion cases in the Ocean City area and has been charged in U.S. District Court for those offenses as well.

OCPD detectives, with the cooperation of the DEA and law enforcement agencies in other jurisdictions including Delaware and New Jersey, began to build a case against Bimonte and his co-conspirators in the drug ring including Tarr; Gene Sams, 38, of Ocean City; Brian West, 27, of Salisbury; and Tyler Hays, 22, of Ocean City.

On Aug. 29, 2008, the federal grand jury for the District of Maryland handed down a 12-count indictment charging Bimonte with conspiracy to distribute and distribution of oxycodone. Bimonte was arrested on Sept. 19, 2008 in Newark, N.J. after investigators executed a search and seizure warrant on his residence and recovered numerous prescription pill bottles for oxycodone.

This week, Tarr pleaded guilty to distribution of oxycodone and was placed on supervised probation for two years and fined $500. The status of the cases against the other conspirators in the drug ring is not known. The ringleader, Bimonte, faces 20 years and jail and a fine of up to $1 million. He is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on January 29. 

No New Jail Time

For Crack Possession

SNOW HILL – A Selbyville man arrested last December on drug charges after a five-month investigation by Ocean City Police narcotics officers pleaded guilty this week in Circuit Court to possession of crack cocaine and was sentenced to 46 days in jail, which was the equivalent of the time he served prior to trial.

Last December, the Ocean City Police Department’s narcotics unit concluded a five-month CDS distribution investigation in the resort with the arrests of three suspects from Delaware after finding them in a car in the north end of town.

OCPD officers served a search and seizure warrant on one suspect, Christopher Lee Sturgis, 23, of Selbyville, after finding him in a vehicle on 143rd Street. Officers searched the vehicle and discovered 41 grams of crack cocaine along with $367 in currency. Two other suspects were located in the vehicle with Sturgis and were also arrested on various charges.

Darnell Lamar Morris, 25, of Selbyville, was wanted on a warrant from Wicomico County for possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances. The third suspect in the vehicle was identified as Deon Evans Bailey, 19, of Seaford, Del. In addition, the tags on the vehicle were reported stolen from Delaware.

Each of the suspects was charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Morris was also charged with the outstanding warrant from Wicomico County, while Bailey was also charged with theft. This week in Circuit Court, Sturgis pleaded guilty to possession of crack cocaine and was sentenced to 46 days in jail and was then given credit for the time he already served. Meanwhile, the other two suspects appeared in court earlier this year and had the charges against them nolle prossed, or not prosecuted.

Hunting Deer At Night

BERLIN – A Salisbury man was arrested on numerous charges in Worcester County last weekend after police observed him spotlighting and shooting at deer from a vehicle that later turned out to have stolen tags.

Around 7:30 p.m. last Friday, Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) observed a man later identified as Kevin Matthew Twilley, 30, of Salisbury, poaching deer at night by shining a spotlight on a field along Scotty Rd. in Worcester County from his vehicle. NRP officer then observed Twilley take a shot at a deer, which had been spotlighted in the field adjacent to the roadway.

As NRP officers approached the vehicle, Twilley fled the scene. After a brief chase, NRP officers stopped Twilley, with the assistance of Pocomoke Police, on Route 13 near Dividing Creek Rd. A check of Twilley’s driver’s license revealed it was suspended and a check of the license plate on the vehicle revealed it was stolen from the Berlin area in July. Worcester County Sheriff’s Deputies assisted in the arrest.

Twilley was charged with casting rays of artificial light capable of killing deer, hunting deer out of season, shooting from a roadway, hunting on private land without permission, hunting from a vehicle, theft, fleeing and eluding, reckless driving and numerous other traffic-related violations.

Emergency Alert Test Tomorrow

BERLIN – Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 7, Worcester County residents will again be hearing the emergency alert signals from their local fire sirens. Worcester County has taken this step to provide additional means to warn the surrounding communities of imminent danger and the need to tune to either radio, television or the internet for information in the event of emergencies.

Sirens are tested the first Saturday of each month. Residents will hear a steady alert tone sound at 10 a.m. for approximately one minute. Since the end of the Cold War, most serious threats to areas of the Eastern Shore have been weather related, and the emergency alert sirens have gone unused.

However, emergency alert sirens continue to be employed in tornado-prone areas of the country where they are used to warn residents that a tornado has been spotted and to take cover.

Arrest Log

OCEAN CITY – With the busy Halloween weekend coupled with the turn-black-the-clock night, Ocean City police were kept busy last week with dozens of arrests for all manner of crimes from the very serious to the not so severe.

Arrests for individuals suspected of driving under the influence again topped the list with eight, but there were several other arrests made during the period for which no other information was provided other than the usual brief reference in the weekly incident report. For example, there were two arrests made for second-degree assault, five drug-related arrests, one theft, one false statement to an officer, one trespassing, one failure to obey a lawful order and one fugitive arrest.

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