OCEAN CITY – Ocean City police early Wednesday morning concluded a long-term drug distribution investigation with the execution of eight search and seizure warrants at a downtown apartment complex, resulting in seven arrests.
Around 4:15 a.m. on Wednesday, the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) narcotics unit served search and seizure warrants on eight separate units in the Parrot Lagoon apartment complex in a multi-agency, simultaneous raid. The OCPD was supported by law enforcement personnel from the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office, tactical teams from the Worcester and Wicomico County Sheriff’s offices as well as its own Quick Response Team (QRT).
The multi-agency partnerships and sharing of resources have been a crucial factor enabling all Lower Shore law enforcement organizations to successfully handle several high profile criminal investigations recently, a press statement said. During the action on Wednesday, Ocean City police were able to make seven arrests of suspects involved in the illegal distribution and possession of drugs in the resort. During the incident, OCPD officers arrested two wanted individuals, including Jermaine Heath, 27, of Ocean City, who was wanted for failing to appear in court for other drug charges, and Bernie Johnson, 46, of Snow Hill, who was wanted in Wicomico County on unrelated charges.
Others arrested included Thomas Gerard Brantley, 26, of Ocean City, who was charged with possession of marijuana, methadone and paraphernalia; Melvin Harrell, 53, of Ocean City, who was charged with possession of crack cocaine and paraphernalia; Wontorey Ward, 38, of Ocean City, who was charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia; Jason Knaub, 36, of Ocean City, who was charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia; and Nathaniel Johnson, who was charged with possession of crack cocaine and paraphernalia.
Hit-and-Run Leads To Pot Arrest
OCEAN CITY – A Berlin man was arrested on drunk driving and drug charges last weekend in Ocean City after allegedly leaving the scene of an accident in the downtown area.
Around 12:40 a.m. last Sunday, OCPD officers in the area of Dorchester Street and Baltimore Ave. reported hearing a loud crash. Several officers responded to the area and located a blue Kia Sorrento driving on Baltimore Ave. with a piece of a broken light post lodged under the vehicle.
OCPD officers stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver, identified as Michael Howard Schissler, 31, of Berlin. The officers believed Schissler was intoxicated and he was later arrested for drunk driving. While on the scene, the officers located a large amount of suspected marijuana and drug paraphernalia in Schissler’s vehicle.
Schissler was ultimately charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute, possession of paraphernalia, drunk driving, negligent driving and leaving the scene of accident involving unattended property damage. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and released on his own recognizance.
Gun Threat On Boardwalk
OCEAN CITY – A Delmar man was arrested on weapons charges and reckless endangerment last weekend after reportedly threatening another man with a rifle on the Boardwalk.
Around 11 p.m. last Friday, Ocean City police responded to the area of 17th Street and the Boardwalk for a report of man armed with a gun threatening people. Responding officers met with the victim, who told police that prior to their arrival, he had gotten into a verbal argument with the suspect who threatened to shoot him. According to the victim, the suspect displayed a rifle, which he was concealing under his clothing.
The victim provided police with a description of the suspect, who was then located on the street near the scene of the original incident. The suspect was later identified as Jamel Anthony Jones, 18, of Delmar, Del. The victim positively identified Jones as the person who had threatened him with a gun.
A search revealed Jones was in possession of .22 caliber ammunition. OCPD officers were then able to locate an unloaded .22 caliber rifle a block away at 18th Street and the Boardwalk and the victim positively identified the weapon as the gun Jones flashed during the incident.
Jones was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered held on a $25,000 bond. He was later transferred to the Worcester County Jail.
Stolen Property Recovered
BERLIN – A Montgomery County man was arrested on felony theft and theft scheme charges last week after a year-long investigation conducted by Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) connected him to the theft of all-terrain vehicles in both Worcester and Somerset counties.
Matthew Brian Hungerford, 46, of Germantown, Md. has been charged with four counts of theft over $1,000 but less than $10,000, and one count of theft scheme over $10,000 but under $100,000 after a year-long investigation into property stolen from hunting camps in Worcester and Somerset Counties. NRP officers became aware of the stolen property during an investigation into poaching problems occurring in Somerset.
Information was gathered and search warrants were obtained for a business and multiple residences in Montgomery County. The search warrants were executed last Wednesday, Feb. 24, and stolen articles recovered resulted in Hungerford’s arrest. The recovered stolen articles were valued at over $27,000. The stolen articles included a four-wheel Polaris sportsman ATV stolen from Worcester County, and a John Deere Gator ATV, a six-wheel Polaris ATV, and a Mercury 40-horsepower outboard motor stolen from Somerset.
Cocaine Bust in Berlin
BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested on various drug charges last week after being found with a substantial amount of cocaine during a traffic stop.
Around 11:43 p.m. last Friday, Berlin Police on patrol in the Flower Street and Showell Street area observed a vehicle make a right turn and accelerate, causing the vehicle to fish tail. Berlin Police officers stopped the vehicle and observed the driver, identified as Julius Milbourne, 26, of Berlin, acting nervous and shaking.
Berlin Police contacted a K-9 unit from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a scan on the vehicle. The K-9 unit alerted on the vehicle, indicating the possible presence of drugs in the vehicle or on the driver. A subsequent search revealed a large block of cocaine in Milbourne’s pocket and a smaller bag of cocaine in his sock.
Milbourne was arrested and charged with possession and possession to distribute cocaine, possession of paraphernalia and various traffic offenses. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and ordered held on a $15,000 bond.
Armed Robber Convicted
SNOW HILL – A Pennsylvania man arrested in June after Ocean City police were able to identify him as one of three suspects in an armed robbery of a downtown hotel was found guilty this week on a conspiracy to commit robbery charge and now faces as many as 15 years in jail.
Aaron Taylor, now 20, of Reading, Pa., appeared in Circuit Court on Tuesday to face 14 total charges ranging from first- and second-degree assault to armed robbery, theft and false imprisonment among others for his role in an incident at the Americana Hotel in Ocean City in June. Taylor was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in Maryland, while the other charges against him were not prosecuted. His fate is now pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.
Around 5:45 a.m. on June 11, 2009, Ocean City police responded to the Americana Hotel for a reported armed robbery. When officers arrived on the scene, they were told three masked individuals brandishing handguns entered the hotel lobby around 5 a.m. The armed robbers then stole money and property from the hotel and the desk clerk before heading off in an unknown direction. At the time of the robbery, the suspects were wearing white masks with holes cut out for the eyes and mouths.
During the investigation, police detectives were able to obtain information that led them to a suspect from Reading, Pa., later identified as Jose Antonio Vasquez, 19, of Reading. At around 11:30 p.m. that night, OCPD investigators, with the assistance of the Reading Police Department, located and arrested Vasquez in his hometown and took him into custody.
With Vasquez in custody, police detectives were still working on the identities of the other two suspects. Following leads and other evidence in the case, investigators were able to track the two other suspects wanted in the robbery, Taylor and Jordan Raker, 18, both of whom are also from Reading. On June 16, OCPD detectives traveled to Reading and arrested the other two suspects, Taylor and Raker, wanted in connection with the armed robbery back on June 11.
In February, Vasquez was found guilty of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, a charge which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Meanwhile, a warrant has been sworn out for Raker for failing to appear for an earlier court date, but he has not been taken into custody.
Stiff Sentence For Cocaine Dealer
SNOW HILL – A Selbyville man arrested last November on drug charges at the conclusion of a two-month distribution investigation in Ocean City pleaded guilty this week to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and was sentenced to five years in jail.
On Nov. 4, 2009, OCPD narcotics officers secured a search and seizure warrant on Deshawn Cornelius Handy, 26, after an undercover detective was able to purchase crack cocaine from the suspect on two separate occasions during a two-month investigation. OCPD detectives served the warrant on Handy and the vehicle he was occupying at the time and he was taken into custody without incident.
This week in Circuit Court, Handy pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and was sentenced to five years in jail, with credit given for 30 days served already. Meanwhile, another suspect in the vehicle on the day of Handy’s arrest, identified as Benny Marion Mullins, Jr., 31, also of Selbyville, was also arrested and charged with various drug-related counts. In February, Mullins pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was suspended, and was fined $1,000, half of which was suspended.
Charges Dropped In Assault Case
OCEAN CITY – A Pottstown, Pa. man, arrested on assault charges last August after allegedly attacking his girlfriend and fracturing one of the vertebrae in her neck, had the charges against him dropped this week in Circuit Court.
Around 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 22, 2009, Ocean City police responded to the Seascape Motel on 15th Street for an unknown disturbance. The investigation revealed a couple staying at the motel had been involved in a domestic argument prior to the arrival of the police. Officers learned earlier in the evening the victim and her male companion had been out to an area nightclub and became intoxicated.
Once back at the motel, the couple allegedly had an argument during which the male, later identified as Jeffery Robert Martin, 25, of Pottstown, Pa., allegedly assaulted the female victim. While at the scene, OCPD officers noted the victim was complaining of neck pain. She was transported to AGH where it was later determined she had suffered a fracture in one of the vertebrae in her neck as a result of the altercation.
Based on the victim’s injuries, Martin was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. In Circuit Court this week, however, the charges against Martin were nolle prossed, or not prosecuted.
Two More Rioters Convicted
OCEAN CITY – Two of the three local residents arrested last year during a large fight at a mid-town nightclub involving hundreds appeared in District Court in Ocean City this week and came away with different outcomes.
Around 1:15 a.m. on Nov. 29, 2009 Ocean City police responded to 64th Street for a reported fight in progress. Arriving officers encountered a crowd estimated at 350 to 400 individuals with several small fights occurring inside Castaway’s. Due to the size and uncooperative nature of the crowd, which had allegedly spilled out of the establishment and into the parking lot and onto 64th Street, Ocean City police requested additional personnel from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryland State Police assist with the control and dispersal of the crowd.
Three local area residents were arrested on various charges related to the riot. For example, Tyronn Rashaad Lawson, 22, of Berlin, was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Deonna Taccura Bailey, 27, of Berlin, was arrested and charged with resisting arrest, failure to obey a police officer and disorderly conduct, while Shanice Lavea Fooks, 24, of Salisbury, was charged with obstructing and hindering a police officer.
On Monday, Lawson was found guilty of resisting arrest and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Fooks also appeared in District Court on Monday and was found guilty of obstructing and hindering and was fined $300. In January, Bailey pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was placed on probation for one year and fined $300.
Three Years For Violating Probation
SNOW HILL – A Berlin man arrested on marijuana possession charges last year was found guilty this week in Circuit Court and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, but the conviction triggered a violation of probation for a similar arrest in December 2008 and sent him back to jail for an additional three years.
Demar Antonio Leonard, 21, appeared in court on Wednesday to face charges related to his arrest in September on possession with intent to distribute marijuana charges. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. However, Leonard’s arrest for the September incident violated the terms of his probation for a conviction of a similar arrest in December 2008 and he was sentenced to three years in jail, which had been suspended earlier.
Shortly after midnight on December 29, 2008, a Maryland State Police trooper on routine patrol in the area of Route 113 and Bay Street in Berlin pulled a car over for a routine traffic violation. A probable cause search revealed a zip lock bag of suspected marijuana nestled in the back seat of the vehicle. The estimated value of the pot seized during the search was $1,200.
While at the scene, a male subject, later identified as Leonard arrived and became belligerent with the officers on the scene. Leonard, who was reportedly the driver’s boyfriend, became disorderly and failed to obey a lawful order, causing a large crowd to form around the scene. Leonard was also arrested, and was found to be in possession of marijuana and cocaine.