Cops & Courts – March 24, 2023

Heroin Possession Arrests

OCEAN CITY – Two Delaware residents face drug charges after two traffic stops within an hour.

On March 17 shortly after midnight, a silver 2004 Mercedes was seen by Ocean City police failing to stop before the marked crosswalk on 74th Street at a traffic light. Robin C. Stephens, 40, of Dover, Del., was identified as the driver. The suspect tried to give police a fake name and date of birth when questioned. Stephens asked if he could retrieve a jacket from the vehicle during questioning. Police handed the jacket to Stephens and noticed a portable scale in the pocket used to weigh drugs. A computer search found Stephens was wanted on a bench warrant for failing to appear in district court for a previous driving while impaired charge in Ocean City. Stephens was placed under arrest.

Officers allowed the passenger of the vehicle, Molly R. Deckoff, 30, of Dover, Del., to leave the scene with the vehicle while Stephens was processed at the Public Safety Building. Twelve minutes after leaving the scene, Ocean City police conducted a traffic stop near 135th Street on the same sedan for crossing lanes of travel. Deckoff was identified as the driver. When She was asked to exit the vehicle, police noticed “seven paper wax folds” bound together fall from the driver’s side door, according to police reports. Police reported each wax fold contained heroin. Police identified signs of impairment on the motorist but no odor of alcohol. She was arrested for driving while impaired by alcohol and/or CDS and possession of CDS not marijuana.

A vehicle search also revealed cocaine, a glass smoking pipe with burnt cocaine inside, a plastic tube used to inhale CDS within Deckoff’s purse and an empty plastic Baggie used to store cocaine. Deckoff was also charged with cocaine possession and drug paraphernalia. Because he was connected to the arrest earlier, Stephens was hit with the same charges because it was known the drugs were within the vehicle when he was driving as well as giving a false statement to police.


Weapons Charges

OCEAN CITY – Various weapons charges have been filed against a North Carolina man.

On March 19 shortly after midnight, Ocean City police pulled over a 2022 Chrysler 300s for suspected illegal window tint as well as an unilluminated headlight. Police immediately noticed the smell of burning marijuana with Scott Penaloza, 21, of Charlotte, N.C., as the driver, a female in the passenger seat and a 2-year-old male child asleep in the backseat unrestrained by a seat belt. Penaloza was unable to produce a driver’s license.

During a search of the vehicle, police found a prescription bottle with no label containing 58 pills of Oxycodone, a schedule II narcotic. A further search of the vehicle found a Ruger 57 handgun in the glove compartment with a loaded magazine of 20 blue tip bullets. The gun had a round in the chamber. A kitchen knife was also found in the glove box. Police confirmed through the Maryland gun center the gun was last registered to Penaloza but he did not possess a concealed carry permit in Maryland.

Penaloza was charged with carrying a handgun in a vehicle on public roads, carrying a loaded handgun in a vehicle on public roads, possessing a kitchen knife and five counts of Schedule II drug possession of oxycodone.


Sentenced For Assault

SNOW HILL — De’Jhuan Collic, age 28, of Baltimore, was sentenced to serve 20 years in the Division of Correction after pleading guilty to one count of first-degree assault.

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De’Jhuan Collic

Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Brian D. Shockley suspended all but 10 years of the sentence, placing Collic on five years of supervised probation upon his release and required him to submit a DNA sample.

The charges originated from a June 5, 2022, incident at a convenience store in West Ocean City. Maryland State Police troopers responded to a reported assault on a pregnant female. Further investigation revealed the victim and the suspect stopped at the convenience store after leaving Ocean City and became involved in an argument while at the gas pumps. Collic became irate and struck the victim several times in the head and face with a closed fist and then began choking her. She tried to escape by running away, but Collic pushed her, causing her to fall into their vehicle’s side mirror. Troopers observed injuries to the victim consistent with her statements. Collic then took the vehicle and fled the area but was apprehended soon after by troopers on Route 50 westbound.

Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser thanked TFC Kreiling and TFC Pinto for their swift action in locating and detaining Collic. She also thanked Assistant State’s Attorney Pamela Correa who prosecuted the case.


Bryan Zimmerman

Leigh Ann Williams

Fatal Fentanyl Case Sentencing

BERLIN – The second of two suspects linked to a fentanyl overdose has been sentenced to prison time.

On Feb. 16, Leigh Ann Williams, age 35, of Willards, became the last of two co-defendants to be sentenced for

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Leigh Ann Williams

conspiracy to distribute fentanyl by the Judge Beau H. Oglesby of the Worcester County Circuit Court. Williams was sentenced to 10 years with all but five years suspended and placed on three years of supervised probation upon release for her role in the distribution of fentanyl in September 2021, which resulted in the death of 37-year-old Christopher Price of Berlin. Previously, in May of 2022, her co-defendant, Bryan Zimmerman, age 35, of Ocean City, was convicted of distribution of fentanyl for the same incident, and in July 2022 was sentenced to serve 20 years, with all but 10 years suspended and placed on five years of supervised probation upon his release.

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Bryan Zimmerman

Price, employee of an Ocean City hotel, failed to show up for work in September of 2011. Hotel employees

made entry into Price’s apartment, discovered him deceased and immediately contacted police. Detectives assigned to the case in Ocean City obtained cell phone records, revealing that Price had been in recent contact with Zimmerman. After extensive analysis of digital evidence, detectives were able to establish that Zimmerman and Williams traveled in a vehicle together to sell Price what Price believed to be Xanax. Detectives also learned that Zimmerman had been arrested two days prior for possession of fentanyl. Autopsy results of Price indicated his cause of death was fentanyl and ethanol intoxication, and as a result,

Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser thanked OCPD’s Criminal Investigation Division for the detailed and thorough investigation in this case, and commended Assistant State’s Attorney Joaquin Cabrera who prosecuted both matters.

“This case highlights the continued need for education and prevention efforts in the war against drugs, especially now that the fentanyl crisis has exploded in our country,” Heiser said. Those in our community need to understand that fentanyl is being found in every other type of drug, even those that appear to be prescriptions, and that one pill can kill. My office will continue to hold drug dealers accountable while encouraging all those suffering from substance abuse to seek treatment to avoid any further loss of life.”


Fatal Accident In South End

POCOMOKE – Maryland State Police are investigating a fatal two-vehicle crash that occurred late Tuesday evening in Worcester County.

Shortly after 11:20 p.m., troopers from the Maryland State Police Berlin Barrack responded to US Route 113 at Groton Road for a report of a multi-vehicle crash. According to a preliminary investigation, a box truck was traveling north on Route 113 when it crashed into a Kia Forte, which was traveling west on Groton Road.

The driver of the Kia, identified as Chauncey McKinley Johnson, 54, of Stockton, Maryland, was declared deceased at the scene. The driver of the truck remained at the scene. No other injuries or fatalities were reported. Route 113 was temporarily closed as a result of the crash.