Drug Raid Nets Two Arrest

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Police Narcotics Unit and the department’s Quick Response Team (QRT) scored a significant drug bust last weekend at a downtown hotel after executing a search and seizure warrant.

The narcotics team and the QRT executed the search and seizure warrant at the Buckingham Hotel on 14th Street and Baltimore Ave. around 10:30 p.m. last Friday. Named in the warrant was Lester Brown, Jr., 40, of Bishopville.

When the officers entered the room, they found Brown along with his friend, Kelly Horton, 38, of Etters, Pa., inside. During the search, the officers found a cigarette box containing a baggie of crack cocaine and a baggie or marijuana under the mattress. The officers also discovered a partially burned marijuana cigarette, drug paraphernalia including a spoon with cocaine residue, razor blades and rolling papers.

Two pipes with crack cocaine residue were found in the nightstand. Also seized was nearly $1,000 in currency. Brown and Horton were arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Brown is currently being held on a $25,000 bond, while Horton is being held on a $10,000 bond. 

Phony CDs Lead To Drug Bust

OCEAN CITY – Three Delaware men were arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana after resort police observed them trying to sell illegal compact discs out of their trunk in front of a convenience store.

Around 8:30 p.m. last Wednesday, two OCPD officers working a plain clothes alcohol enforcement detail were patrolling near the 7-Eleven on 26th Street when they observed a car pull up to the store. The occupants opened the trunk of the vehicle and began to set up a small display. As the officers drew closer, they saw the three men, later identified as Alfonso Rivera, 22, and Amir Tamar, 20, both of Wilmington, Del., and Ruben Cruzado, 20, of New Castle, Del., attempting to sell the CDs.

After uniformed officers arrived on the scene, the undercover officer walked around the outside of the car when a small plastic bag of suspected cocaine was viewed in the door handle. The three men were detained as officers began to search the car.

Inside the car, officers found nine individually wrapped Baggies of cocaine, three large, clear Baggies of marijuana, 23 small Baggies of packaged marijuana, a small vial of PCP and a large Baggie of marijuana containing an estimated 100 grams in the trunk. One of the men, Tamar, had a baggie of marijuana in his pocket.

Each were arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine. Police also seized $135 in cash as well as the vehicle, a 1995 Dodge Intrepid.

Pain Meds Theft An Inside Job

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City condominium maintenance man was arrested this week and charged with burglary and possession of marijuana after getting caught stealing prescription medicine from an 82-year-old man at his north-end condo.

Last week, Ocean City detectives investigated a burglary complaint at the Antigua condominium on 85th Street. The complainant, an 82-year-old man, told the officers he believed someone had been entering his unit and stealing his prescription medicine.

On the morning of July 12, the detectives met with the victim in his unit. Around 8 a.m., the victim pretended to leave for the day while the detectives hid in a spare bedroom in the unit. Less than 10 minutes after the victim left, the officers heard someone enter the unit. The officers than confronted the suspect, who turned out to a maintenance man for the condominium.

After interviewing the suspect, later identified as David Edwards, 20, of Pittsville, the suspect admitted breaking into the victim’s unit on two prior occasions and stealing Percocet from the victim’s medicine bottle. Police also discovered marijuana on Edwards’ person. He was charged with burglary, possession of marijuana and misdemeanor theft. Edwards was released on a $25,000 bond.

Pedestrian Struck On Route 113 in Berlin

BERLIN – An Ocean City man struck by a car last weekend on Route 113 in Berlin appears to be recovering from his injuries this week.

Last Friday, Berlin Police responded to Route 113 and Branch Street in reference to a pedestrian that had been struck by a vehicle. Upon arrival, police located Daniel Edward Wheeler, 35, of Ocean City, who had been walking on Route 113 when he was struck by a southbound vehicle driven by Juan Derrickson, 28, of Berlin.

Wheeler was air-lifted to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury by a Maryland State Police Helicopter. According to Berlin Police, Wheeler was still in the hospital’s intensive car unit as of Saturday, but by Monday, he had been moved to a normal room in the hospital, which indicates he is recovering. The incident is still under investigation.

Berlin Assault Arrest

BERLIN – A Berlin man was arrested on assault charges this week after striking a female victim in the parking lot of a convenience store.

Shortly before midnight on Sunday, Berlin Police Department officers on patrol in the area of Flower and Bay streets observed a verbal altercation taking place in the parking lot of the Uncle Willie’s convenience store. After further investigation, the officers learned a suspect, later identified as Leobardo Vera-Sanguino, 33, of Berlin, had assaulted a female subject prior to the officers’ arrival.

Vera-Sanguino was then placed under arrest and charged with second-degree assault. He was taken to the District Court Commissioner in Ocean City and later released on his own recognizance.

Cleared Of Assault

OCEAN CITY – A woman arrested for second-degree assault last month was found not guilty in District Court on Monday after explaining the cause of the attack to the court.

Ashley Lauren Cox, 23, of Bel Air, Md., came before the court Monday to plead guilty to second-degree assault charges.

On June 8, officers observed a female, identified as Ashley Cox, yelling and screaming at a man. Cox then slapped the man open-handed across the face, at which point officers placed her under arrest for second-degree assault.

Cox pleaded guilty to the charges, but explained the circumstances to the court. According to Cox, the man that she hit was her fiancé. “I was upset because he left me alone in Seacrets,” Cox said, explaining that her fiancé had left her and that she was being grabbed by other men, causing her to become angry and later hit her fiancé when she found him outside.

Judge Daniel Mumford addressed her fiancé, who was present in the courtroom. When asked by Mumford if he deserved the slap across the face, Cox’s fiancé replied, “yes sir,” agreeing to Cox’s statement.

After hearing Cox’s statements and the response of her fiancé, Judge Mumford found her not guilty.

A Dangerous Weapon?

OCEAN CITY – A Waldorf, Md. man appeared in District Court Monday to explain charges of concealing a dangerous weapon.

Christopher Rodney Griswold, 23, came before the District Court Monday after being arrested on June 7, for concealing a dangerous weapon than he claimed was merely a belt buckle.

According to police reports, police stopped Griswold for an open container violation. Upon searching Griswold, officers found fighting knuckles or brass knuckles in Griswold’s left pocket and arrested him for concealing a dangerous weapon.

According to Griswold, the knuckles served as a belt buckle on a belt that he had taken off earlier. He told Judge Daniel Mumford that he was having problems with the belt earlier and had taken it off, keeping the buckle in his possession. Mumford questioned why Griswold wouldn’t leave the belt buckle in the hotel room along with the belt, but Griswold had no explanation. Mumford also warned Griswold about the seriousness of this type of weapon. “If you hit someone in the face with those things, you can do a lot of damage,” he said.

Griswold was found guilty and sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of unsupervised probation and $357.50 in fines.

Guilty Plea For Counterfeit Money

OCEAN CITY – An 18-year-old Bel Air man came before the District Court on Tuesday to face charges of possession/issue of forged currency.

Ryan Thomas Walter of Bel Air, Md. plead guilty to the counterfeit charges.

On June 7, Walter attempted to make a purchase at the Taco Bell-KFC in Ocean City. Walter gave the cashier a $20 bill that the cashier identified as counterfeit. Police arrived and confirmed that the bill was indeed counterfeit and placed Walter under arrest.

Walter’s attorney assured the court that Walter was not responsible for producing the counterfeit bill. Walter apparently won the bill in a game of “beer pong” and was cooperative with the police in tracking down the source of the fake bills.

Walter told the court that he didn’t realize how serious of a crime it was until it was too late, explaining that it was intended to be a joke. Judge Daniel Mumford explained to Walter the seriousness of the crime and the dangers of counterfeit money.

Walter was sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of supervised probation and $1,057.50 in fines as well as 100 hours of community service. “All this for a fake $20 bill,” Judge Mumford added.

Probable Cause In Assault, Robbery Case

OCEAN CITY – An armed robbery and assault case was sent to the Circuit Court after a preliminary hearing at the District Court Monday when Judge Daniel Mumford found probable cause to forward the case.

Tyrone Darrell Mann, 21, of Pasadena, Md., came before the court Monday morning for charges of armed robbery, first and second-degree assault and theft less than $500.

Ocean City Police Detective Todd Speigel testified that on June 17 officers found Daniel Connelly, 26, of Brooklawn, N.J., passed out on the sidewalk on the corner of Rusty Anchor and Bradley roads with dried blood covering his face. After waking Connelly they discovered that he was highly intoxicated.

Connelly told officers that he had met three men earlier in the night and had made arrangements to purchase narcotics from them. The men then took him to an ATM, where Connelly took out between $220 and $280 to purchase the narcotics. Connelly then agreed to join the men at a party.

According to Detective Spiegel, Connelly arrived at Rusty Anchor and Bradley roads, at which point two men allegedly pulled switchblade knives and demanded Connelly hand over his money and cell phone. Connelly tried to escape but was stopped, robbed and beaten until be became unconscious.

Speigel testified Connelly provided descriptions of the men and the vehicle. He told officers that one of the attackers was a white man with identifiable tattoos.

Officers searched the area and detained four men a few blocks away. After detaining four men, a black man was identified as having tattoos consistent with Connelly’s description. Connelly was brought to the scene and identified Mann, as well as Gerrel Brandon Kess, as the two men with the switchblades that robbed and beat him.

Mann, who was representing himself, pointed out a few holes in the case. Mann pointed out that Connelly was highly intoxicated when the officers woke him. He also added that Connelly’s identification was unreliable. Connelly first described the attacker with the tattoos as a white man, but later identified Mann, a black man, as the tattooed assailant.

Mann also pointed out that Connelly had described the vehicle as a blue Escalade. When detained, Mann and Kess were in a Taurus, not an Escalade.

Lastly, Connelly claimed that his cell phone had been taken along with $280, but he later admitted that he may have lost the cell phone earlier in the night and that only $220 was stolen.

Judge Daniel Mumford found probable cause to move the case to Circuit Court, advising Mann to obtain counsel.

Busted On Assateague

ASSATEAGUE – A New Jersey man was arrested early last Sunday morning on drug charges after police on routine patrol in the Assateague Island State Park observed a pipe and two bags of suspected marijuana in his vehicle.

Last Sunday, July 15, at 3:15 a.m., Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) arrested a New Jersey man on drug charges in the campground of Assateague State Park. Domenic D. Spagnola, 42, of Garfield, N.J., was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS)-marijuana and possession of CDS paraphernalia after officers observed a multi-colored glass pipe containing suspected marijuana on the passenger’s floorboard of his truck.

Officers noticed the pipe while checking vehicles in the camper parking lot for valid camping permits. A search of the vehicle also uncovered two clear plastic bags of suspected marijuana. A court date of Oct. 5 has been scheduled for Spagnola in Worcester County District Court.

Window Puncher Arrested For Assault

BERLIN – A Bishopville man was arrested on assault and other charges last weekend after punching out the window of his girlfriend’s car at a campground in the Pocomoke State Park.

On Friday, July 13, at 12 p.m., Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) arrested Brian Hudson, 30, of Bishopville, after responding to the Milburn Landing campground area of Pocomoke State Park for a report of a domestic disturbance. According to police reports, Hudson was arguing with his girlfriend at one of the cabins in the campground.

As officers arrived, the incident had seemed to calm down. However, when the officers questioned both individuals, Hudson became angered again and punched his hand through the rear side glass of his girlfriend’s vehicle.

Hudson was placed under arrest and transported to Peninsula Regional Medical Center by EMS for treatment to a laceration on his hand. After being treated, Hudson was charged with second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, and two counts of malicious destruction of property. He was taken before a Worcester County District Court Commissioner and held on $35,000 bond. The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office assisted NRP with the incident.

North-End Condo Fire

OCEAN CITY – A fire at a north Ocean City condominium building early Tuesday morning was confined to a clothes dryer outside the unit and no significant damage occurred.

Shortly after 4 a.m. on Tuesday, a fire occurred at the Sea Watch Condominium on 115th Street in Ocean City. An investigation by the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office revealed the fire originated in a clothes dryer in a utility room outside Unit 1015 on the 10th floor. The fire was contained to the utility room and did not spread to the living areas.

The occupants of the building were evacuated temporarily during fire suppression operations. No injuries were reported.