Severe Sentences In Tipsy Taxi Cases

SNOW HILL — More cases were heard last week in Circuit Court stemming from arrests made over the winter during Operation Sand Dollar, including one repeat offender who was sentenced to 14 years in jail and another defendant who received a 10-year sentence.

Two months after the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) announced the results of a major, two-year sting operation involving an undercover narcotics officer posing as the owner and operator of a taxi cab, the first batch of cases hit the Circuit Court in the last two weeks with varied results based on the severity of the charges.

Operation Sand Dollar culminated in grand jury indictments for 34 suspects, resulting in 119 total counts including 91 distribution charges and 28 conspiracy to distribute charges. During the operation targeting drug trafficking in the resort area, an undercover narcotics officer posed as a cab driver to infiltrate Ocean City’s shadowy social circles.

During the operation, which included cooperation from allied law enforcement agencies along with the State’s Attorney’s Office, the officer turned cab driver made some purchases and sales out of the taxi, but also established connections that led to further indictments. With the cooperation of the city, the department was able to set up a legitimate can complete with one of Ocean City’s limited taxi medallions operating as the “Tipsy Taxi.”

Over the last two weeks, the ongoing court cases have shown a vast disparity in the charges and ultimate outcomes. For example, last Friday, Vernon Spence, 46, of Snow Hill, who has prior drug convictions, was found guilty of distribution of cocaine and was sentenced to 14 years in jail, the first 10 of which are to be served without the possibility of parole.

Earlier last week, Brian Harmon, 39, of Westover, was found guilty of distribution of cocaine and was sentenced to 10 years in jail. In the middle of the spectrum, Orean Kennedy, 52, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine and was sentenced to two years in jail, all but six months of which was suspended. Dawn Ramashka, 49, of Ocean City, pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of cocaine and was sentenced to 18 months in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of probation and a fine.

In addition, James Camper, 49, of Trappe, was found guilty of distribution of marijuana and was sentenced to a year in jail and fined $500. Glynis Sullivan, 54, of Ocean City, was found guilty of distribution of oxycodone and hydrocodone and was sentenced to 18 months and fined $1,000. One defendant, Geraldine Woodland, 49, of Ocean City, had the charges against her dismissed.

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