OCEAN CITY — A Columbia, Md. man, arrested last summer after a loaded handgun and drugs were found in his vehicle, pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to a total of seven years, all but 18 months of which were suspended.
Around 8:20 p.m. last June 15, 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. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to carrying a loaded handgun in a vehicle and was sentenced to three years, all but six months of which was suspended. He also pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced on that count to four years, with all but one year suspended, for net 18 months in jail. He was also placed on supervised probation upon his release.