Traffic Stop Yields Pot Bust

BERLIN – A Pennsylvania woman was arrested on marijuana possession charges last weekend after a routine traffic stop near Berlin.

Around 8:20 p.m. last Saturday, a Maryland State Police trooper on routine patrol stopped a 2009 Pontiac on northbound Route 113 near Route 90 for a traffic violation. When the trooper made contact with the driver, identified as Kristen Jennifer Duklewski, 31, of Dallastown, Pa., he detected an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

A probable cause search led to the discovery of over 34 grams of marijuana in numerous places throughout the vehicle. Duklewski was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. She was taken before a District Court Commissioner and released on her own recognizance.

Jail Time For Meth Dealer

SNOW HILL – A Pennsylvania man arrested in July on drug dealing charges after a citizen he approached reported his activity to police pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to possession with intent to distribute crystal methamphetamine and was sentenced to three years in jail.

Around 6:40 p.m. on July 6, an Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) officer on bike patrol in the area of 13th Street was approached by a citizen who told police a male had just tried to sell the witness crystal meth. After obtaining a description from the witness, OCPD officers were able to track down the suspect, later identified as Shawn Michael Tobin, 24, of Minersville, Pa.

Tobin was found to be in possession of 31 individual bags of a white, crystal-like substance believed to by crystal methamphetamine. During the on-scene investigation and subsequent search, Tobin allegedly became “violently combative,” according to police reports and had to be subdued by OCPD officers.

Last week in Circuit Court, Tobin pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to three years in jail, two of which were suspended, netting him one year in jail. He was placed on probation for two years following his release and was fined $500.

Some Child Abuse Charges Dropped

SNOW HILL — An Ocean Pines man arrested in August on first-degree assault charges after allegedly beating his 8-year-old son with a belt for telling a lie had some of the more serious charges against him dropped last week in District Court, but still faces charges of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

On Aug. 14, Ocean Pines Police were notified of an alleged child abuse patient in the emergency room at Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin. Ocean Pines Police responded to the emergency room at Atlantic General and met with a nurse the 8-year-old boy who had arrived at the hospital and appeared to have been beaten with a belt. According to police reports, the child had multiple strike marks on his right leg, buttocks and back.

After being examined and treated by a doctor, the child’s injuries were photographed by a SAFE nurse on staff. The officers also observed the child’s injuries after meeting with the victim and his mother in the examination room.

After interviewing the victim and his mother, it was determined the child had been caught in a lie by his father, identified as Brian William Januska, 32, of Ocean Pines, who allegedly became very upset and struck the child several times with a belt.

According to police reports, the victim’s mother did not know how many times the child had been struck. Ocean Pines Police responded to the victim’s home and took Januska to police headquarters for questioning. After being advised of his rights, Januska admitted he hit the child with a belt, according to police reports.

Januska reportedly gave police oral and written statements claiming he had become angry with the child for lying and that he did hit the child at least four times with a belt. Based on the nature of the child’s injuries, the testimony of the victim and his mother and the admission by the suspect, Januska was arrested and charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, first- and second-degree child abuse and reckless endangerment for causing “a substantial risk of death or serious injury,” according to charging documents.

Last week in District Court, the first-degree assault and first-degree child abuse-serious injury charges against Januska were dismissed although he still faces second-degree assault and reckless endangerment charges. He is scheduled to appear in court to face those charges on Nov. 23.

PSI Ordered In High Speed Chase

SNOW HILL – A Pasadena, Md. man arrested in July on a variety of traffic charges after leading Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) on a chase along Route 611 that ended with his arrest in a West Ocean City campground was found guilty of riding on a revoked license this week in District Court and now awaits his fate pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.

Around 1:50 p.m. on July 19, NRP officers observed a black motorcycle, driven by Richard Clarence Poling, 41, of Pasadena, going 70 mph in a 40 mph zone on Route 611 at Bay Berry Drive near Assateague. NRP officers and the National Park Service attempted to stop the motorcycle, which fled northbound on Route 611.

NRP officers chased Poling at a high rate of speed for about two miles on Route 611 but abandoned the pursuit due to unsafe traffic conditions. Poling was located about a half an hour later at Frontiertown. Poling was arrested and charged with attempting to flee and elude a police officer, driving a motor vehicle on a suspended and revoked license and attempting to elude a police officer by failing to stop.

This week in District Court, he was found guilty of driving on a revoked license and a PSI was ordered. The other charges against him were not prosecuted.

Unattended Grill Cause Of Fire

WEST OCEAN CITY – A pot of grease on a grill in a garage is being blamed for a residential house fire in West Ocean City last Sunday.

Around 5:30 p.m. last Sunday, firefighters responded to a reported fire at a residence on Whisper Trace Drive in West Ocean City. First-arriving units discovered a fire in the attached garage of the home. Two occupants were at home at the time of the fire, but it was extinguished quickly and there were no injuries reported.

The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office investigated the fire and determined its cause was accidental. A resident of the house ignited a portable gas grill in the attached garage, placed a pot of grease for frying on a burner and left it unattended, according to the Fire Marshal’s Office.

Craigslist Scam Warning

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City police this week warned local residents of an ongoing employment scam being carried out on the popular Internet site “craigslist.com.”

According to Ocean City police, the particular scam involved potential victims looking on the Internet site craigslist.com for employment opportunities, typically for a service provided. In one example discovered in Ocean City, an unknowing victim agreed to provide cleaning service for a person who is living out of the country and owns property in the resort. All employment negotiations and correspondence were conducted through the mail.

According to OCPD officials, the scam involves a victim being offered employment and mailed a counterfeit “check” to cover the cost of the service provided. In most cases, the check is either drawn on an obscure business account from what appears to be a legitimate bank, or a cashier’s check from the well-known national bank.

In the scam, the victim is paid more money than was negotiated and is asked to quickly deposit the check into his or her account. Once the check is deposited into the victim’s account, the victim is then asked to withdraw a portion of the money and send it back to the fictitious employer via Western Union to another location usually as a means for the alleged employer to pay for additional services or transportation fees as a means to avoid overseas fee and taxes.

By the time the victim transfers actual funds, the local bank where the original check was deposited notifies the victim the check they deposited is fraudulent and the money they withdrew from their account and sent via Western Union is gone. As a result, the victim is responsible for the overdraft on the account even though the check was fake and the victim is out the money.

What transpires during the transactions is a crime of fraud and theft. However, while the crimes are investigated, it is very difficult to catch the perpetrators and unlikely the victim’s money will be recovered. In the above example in Ocean City, an alert bank official immediately suspected the check was a fake and the victim was not scammed.

The OCPD is recommending citizens do not engage in Internet-based employment activities where the potential employer is not well known to the prospective employee. If one receives any money in the form of a corporate or bank check, he or she is advised to allow them to fully clear their bank’s authentication and verification processes, which typically takes seven days. Citizens are also urged not to send any money using wire transfer services as this is a tell-tale sign of a counterfeit check scam.

Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a scam is urged to contact the police. Also, anyone who has been solicited for this type of scam is urged to contact the police department. As always, the OCPD is urging citizens to never provide their personal bank account information or personal identification information including birthday or Social Security number to anyone over the Internet.

Alleged Berlin Dealer
Arraigned In Fed Court

BERLIN – The suspect in one of the most significant cocaine busts in recent Worcester County history last spring was arraigned in U.S. District Court earlier this month and pleaded not guilty to federal drug distribution charges.

In August, Tyrone Darnell Lawson, 37, of Berlin, was indicted in U.S. District Court on federal drug charges following his arrest in Berlin last May. Last week, Lawson was arraigned in U.S. District Court and pleaded not guilty to the bevy of serious charges against him.

In May, the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office criminal enforcement team this spring concluded a 10-month investigation into cocaine distribution in the Berlin area with a grand jury indictment on Lawson on a dozen charges. On May 20, the criminal enforcement team executed search and seizure warrants at three separate locations in Berlin from which Lawson was suspected of operating his alleged drug distribution activities.

At one location alone, detectives recovered 1,750 grams, or 1.7 kilograms, of cocaine and 59 grams of marijuana, along with a scale and packaging materials consistent with dealing.

Lawson was subsequently arrested on 12 counts related to the seizure as well as the indictment handed down by the grand jury. The charges ranged from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute, distribution in a school zone and conspiracy to distribute-large amount. Also arrested at the time was Lawson’s brother, Tony Deangelo Lawson, 43, who was implicated in the scheme during the search and seizure.

In August, however, the charges against Tyrone Lawson in Worcester County Circuit Court were dropped after he was indicted in U.S. District Court on federal drug distribution charges stemming from the same search and seizure in May. According to the federal charging documents, the sheriff’s office enforcement team’s investigation into cocaine distribution in the Berlin area dated back to the summer of 2009 and identified Lawson as a major distributor in the area. The federal charging documents revealed investigators had determined Lawson was utilizing various residences in the Berlin area other than his own in order to avoid detection from law enforcement.

On May 20, officers executed a search and seizure warrant at Tony Lawson’s residence on West Street and discovered a locked shed on the premises. After Tony Lawson provided detectives with a key to the shed, they discovered a large speaker box inside. When the officers removed the speakers from the box, they found the large amount of cocaine.

Truck Fire In Berlin

BERLIN – A commercial vehicle fire in Berlin last week is being blamed on a cutting torch used to clean and repair the truck.

Around 1 p.m. last Thursday, a member of the Berlin Volunteer Fire Company reported a commercial vehicle on fire at a residence on Lincoln Lane in Berlin. First-arriving units reported heavy fire showing from the vehicle, which was parked in a rear yard of a residence. The fire was brought under control quickly and no injuries were reported although firefighters remained on the scene for about an hour.

The residents reported they were scraping metal from the old commercial vehicle when a cutting torch ignited surrounding combustibles. The cause of the fire has been listed as accidental.

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