Citizen Tip Leads To Weapon, Drug Dealing Arrest

OCEAN CITY — A Columbia, Md. man was arrested last week on numerous charges after a loaded handgun and drugs were found in his vehicle after police got a tip he was potentially dealing in front of a downtown convenience store.

Around 8:20 p.m. last Wednesday, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Special Enforcement Unit detectives received a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) complaint from a convenience store at North Division Street. An OCPD detective began conducting surveillance on a suspect later identified as James Tamba, 21, of Columbia, Md., who was standing outside the store.

As officers observed, Tamba got into a vehicle and exited the store’s parking lot, allegedly committing some minor traffic violations that led to a traffic stop, according to police reports. As Tamba was exiting the vehicle, officers observed a knife clipped to his right front pocket, according to police reports. It was determined the weapon was a spring-assisted knife.

Under the driver’s seat, officers located a 9mm handgun, which was with reach of Tamba while he was operating the vehicle. The weapon had five rounds of ammunition in the magazine. A check with the Maryland Gun Center confirmed Tamba did not have a carry permit in the state.

When officers first observed Tamba in front of the convenience store, he was carrying a black satchel, according to police reports. That black satchel was observed in between the front seats of the vehicle Tamba had been operating. Inside the satchel, OCPD officers reportedly located several individually-packaged baggies of marijuana.

In the glove box, officers located more baggies of marijuana and four baggies of pills suspected to be Molly. All in all, there were 55 tablets of Molly, which would far exceed the amount one would possess for personal use, according to police reports. Also in the vehicle officer located a digital scale. On the back seat of the vehicle, OCPD officers located a box containing 47 rounds of 9mm ammunition.

Tamba was arrested and charged with a loaded handgun in a vehicle, possession of a firearm in the commission of a drug trafficking crime, possession with intent to distribute CDS and possession of a martial arts weapon along with a handful of traffic violations. He was later released on a $10,000 bond.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.