June 27, 2013

Series of Drug Crimes Reported in Calvert County

Courtesy of Maryland State Police Reports for Calvert County and published by somd.com on June 12, 2013, the Prince Frederick Barrack of the Maryland State Police (MSP) has released the following reports of drug crimes:

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June 20, 2013

Charles County Drug Arrests Include La Plata Hit-and-Run Driver

Charles County sheriff’s deputies responded on June 10, to a La Plata daycare center after receiving a report of a hit and run crash nearby. The daycare center was located in the 12100 block of Charles Street. In the area where the daycare center’s children were being picked up by parents, a woman driving a 1994 Chevrolet pickup truck was allegedly observed backing into a porch awning support post and then fleeing the scene. No one was injured in the incident.

Officers were able to locate the suspect’s truck. An investigation led them to the driver’s residence. At that residence, officers were alleged to have found drug paraphernalia and heroin. The female Hughesville resident was arrested by Officer J. Squriewell, whose investigation continues. The woman, age 22, was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and 16 traffic offenses.

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June 5, 2013

Two Calvert County Recent Drug Arrests Made

The Calvert County criminal defense attorneys at the firm of Alpert Schreyer know that being charged with a drug crime is a serious matter that can impact your future for a lifetime.

As reported by Star983.com, a Calvert County deputy observed a subject stopped at a red light allegedly inhaling a substance from a glass smoking device. The observation occurred at 5:28 p.m. The Calvert County deputy was in the process of conducting seat belt enforcement at southbound Maryland Route 4 and West Dares Beach Road. After a traffic stop was made, both the driver, age 20, from Huntingtown and a passenger, age 19, from Chesapeake Beach were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana (amount less than 10 grams) and use of drug paraphernalia.

In a separate incident, a deputy witnessed a man in Solomon’s Roy Rogers restaurant who was allegedly having trouble maintaining balance and stumbling in an attempt to get up from his seat. The deputy made contact with the subject, age 28, suspecting he was under the influence. The man was reportedly discovered by the arresting officer to be in possession of illegal drugs. The man was placed under arrest and charged with possession of heroin and the use of drug paraphernalia; a folded piece of paper used to store the heroin.

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May 29, 2013

Recent Drug Arrests — St. Mary’s County

As reported by SMNewsNet.com, detectives recently received a report that a Mechanicsville man was involved in the distribution of crack cocaine. Undercover purchases were successfully made leading to the suspect being indicted and arrested. The accused was held without bond upon arrest.

Detectives reportedly observed a male suspect, age 30, from Mechanicsville distribute tablets to another male, age 17, in a local business’ parking lot. The Oxycodone tablets that were allegedly exchanged along with the money were recovered, as was a prescription that had been altered. The subject who distributed the tablets was arrested and charged. Charges are pending against the male juvenile who received the tablets during the transaction.

A Piney Point area traffic stop was conducted by Captain Daniel Alioto, who was off duty at the time, and contact was made with the driver. Captain Alioto detected the odor of burnt marijuana. A vehicle search uncovered a smoking device, an amount of marijuana, and several oxycodone tablets. The suspect was charged with drug possession upon the arrival of the Vice Narcotics Support Team Deputy.

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February 4, 2013

What Increases the Severity of a Maryland Drug Crime?

Being accused of a drug crime in Maryland should not be taken lightly. If convicted, you can face serious consequences, including, but not necessarily limited to, years or even decades in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. The penalties you face are determined by the drug crime you are accused of and the circumstances surrounding that crime.

As a former prosecutor and an aggressive drug crime defense attorney in Maryland, Andrew Alpert is not only aware of the state’s drug crime laws, but also the circumstances under which those crimes may carry harsher penalties. When aggravating factors further threaten your freedom and financial security, you need a strong defense to protect you from unjust prosecution and excessive penalties. There are many circumstances under which the prosecution may push for additional penalties, whether this means a longer prison sentence, larger fine amounts, or other consequences. The following include some common reasons for an increase in drug crime penalties.

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November 20, 2012

Sale and Use of Synthetic Drug Spice Banned in Frederick, MD

Frederick Spice BanSpice, a synthetic drug sold throughout the state of Maryland, has officially been made illegal in the town of Frederick according to an ABC7 news report. The mayor of Frederick recently signed the ban of the sale and use of this “designer drug” into law, and the drug, which also falls under 200 different brand names such as K2 or Zombie World, has all but disappeared from store shelves. Per the new law, any person caught selling or using this synthetic drug can be fined $1,000 per violation or jailed. In addition, penalties can go beyond fines and arrests, as businesses violating the spice ban can also lose their liquor license and the right to sell lottery tickets.

A Frederick store owner who sold the drug believes the new law will create a “black market” in Frederick and a surge in persons buying the dangerous chemicals online. However, the mayor of Frederick declared spice a public health emergency, which is why he and members of the community felt it essential to get spice off the street, and the mayor is now counting on a city free of designer drugs. The Frederick police chief adds that the spice ban is “a relief for our entire community.”

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July 18, 2012

Maryland State Police Seize Suspected Heroin from Vehicle in Perryville

Maryland State Police troopers recently announced that they seized what they suspect to be $100,000 worth of heroin from a vehicle stopped on Interstate 95 near Perryville, according to DelmarvaNow.com. The vehicle was searched during a routine traffic stop, when officers called in a dog to sniff the vehicle for any possible controlled substances.

Police said that the objects they seized included bundles of what appeared to be uncut heroin, empty containers of the kind often used to transport heroin, and items that could be used to “cut” or dilute heroin to the concentrations normally sold on the street. They also discovered $78,000 in cash. The vehicle’s driver, a North Carolina resident, is being held on suspicion of several drug offenses, including possession with intent to distribute heroin.

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June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Backs Reduced Sentences for Individuals Facing Crack Cocaine Offenses

According to The Boston Herald, the Supreme Court ruled that the “Fair Sentencing Act,” which relaxed mandatory prison sentences for crack cocaine offenses, will now cover people who were charged but not yet sentenced when this act became law in 2010. The Herald reports that the act passed with bipartisan support to eliminate a distinct disparity between the required sentences for sellers of powder cocaine, who tend to be white, and persons who sell crack cocaine, who are “disproportionately black.”

Maryland Cocaine SentencingUltimately, this new ruling means that people who committed crack cocaine crimes before more lenient penalties took effect and had received their prison sentence afterward should benefit from the new rules. Congress did not specify whether the change would be retroactive, but Justice Breyer, who wrote the majority opinion for the high court, stated that not making it retroactive would “preserve a disproportionate status quo” and would create a “new disparate sentencing cliff.”

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June 13, 2012

Strong Odor in Elkridge Hotel Leads to Arrest of 5 Men on Drug Charges

Authorities were alerted anonymously of a strong odor in a room at a Holiday Inn Express in Elkridge which led to multiple arrests, according to The Washington Post. Local police received the tip around 10:40 p.m. on June 4 and, upon arriving at the hotel on Marshalee Drive, immediately detected a “strong, unusual odor” near the door of a room on the fourth floor. The officers were let into the room after knocking and spotted chemicals, according to a statement. Three men were immediately taken into custody, a fourth was arrested later when he showed up at the room, and the fifth was arrested in the hotel parking lot.

The official statement indicates that investigators believe the men were making methamphetamine for their own use, and the group was ultimately charged with drug manufacturing. Police say the men were traveling through the area for work and decided to make the drug because they were unable to find any nearby. Two of the men were from Oklahoma and the remaining three men were from North Carolina, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

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May 10, 2012

MD Woman Arrested for Prescription Drug Fraud in Montgomery County

The Vienna Patch reports that a 24-year-old woman was arrested for attempting to fill fraudulent prescriptions at a Vienna pharmacy. The young woman, a resident of Gaithersburg, was arrested at the Vienna Drug Center and taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center where officers obtained a warrant for prescription fraud. An employee at the Vienna Drug Center alerted authorities around 10 p.m. on April 28 that someone was trying to fill a fraudulent prescription. Upon receiving the information, police also discovered that the woman was wanted in Montgomery County on a warrant for probation violation. The 24-year-old was held on a $5,000 bond for the various charges.

Prescription fraud is a very serious and growing problem in the U.S. Prescription drug fraud is defined as the acquiring or obtaining of a controlled substance by illegal means and the wrongful gain of prescription drugs for personal use, or profit, without a validated prescription from a physician. The crime of prescription fraud can be committed in a number of ways, including forging prescriptions, altering prescriptions to increase the quantity, and impersonating a physician over the phone.

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April 16, 2012

Waldorf Ice Cream Truck Driver Charged with Selling Drugs alongside Frozen Treats

Maryland Marijuana Sale ArrestA WCSH6.com report states that a Maryland man now faces drug charges after being busted for allegedly selling marijuana out of his ice cream truck. According to the Charles County Sherriff’s office, authorities received a tip through Crime Solvers on March 30 about the alleged drug sales and police stopped the truck at the intersection of Bayswater Court and Sheffield Circle the same day. With the help of a drug detection dog, marijuana was found by deputies in the vehicle, along with an undisclosed amount of cash in the ice cream truck driver’s underwear.

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February 27, 2012

Crystal Meth Possession Federal and Maryland State Penalties

Crystal meth, or methamphetamine, is a powerful psychological and physical stimulant that is highly addictive. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has focused more attention on meth-related crimes in recent years, and the passing of the Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 placed a number of restrictions on all forms of methamphetamine.Maryland Meth Possession Arrest

The possession of crystal meth under federal and state laws is a very serious crime. Penalties may include up to $500,000 in fines and a prison term for as long as a life sentence. For the sale of crystal meth, an offender may receive a fine of up to $1,000,000 and the prison sentence depends on the amount of the drug sold or intended to be sold. Possession of crystal meth and/or the chemicals used to produce the drug is illegal. The fines and prison terms for possession, regardless of the amount of drugs or chemicals in possession, can be the maximum amount allowed under Federal Sentencing Guidelines for the federal drug crime.

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February 1, 2012

Supreme Court Rules Warrant Needed by Police to Track Suspects Using GPS

Maryland Illegal Police SeachThe Supreme Court issued a very interesting ruling on January 23 regarding the use of GPS devices by law enforcement to track criminal suspects. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the government needs a search warrant from a judge before it tracks any suspect using high-tech monitoring devices.

The Supreme Court justices did not agree with the U.S. Justice Department’s view that the use of a GPS device was a reasonable means of tracking a motorist on a public highway. This ruling represents a significant complication for law enforcement across the country as they are increasingly reliant on high tech surveillance, such as different types of GPS technology, to track and monitor suspects.

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January 25, 2012

What is a Maryland Drug Transportation Charge?

Drug transportation is defined as the unlawful transference of any controlled substance or narcotic from one place to another by any means. This transporting of illegal drugs occurs when an individual or group knowingly transfers the unlawful substances to another place, ranging from transporting a small amount in a car to a large amount on an airplane. If there is also the intent to sell the illegal substance or narcotic after it is transported, an intent to distribute charge may also be added, which can result in even harsher penalties.

MD Drug ChargesThe punishments for a drug transportation conviction can vary depending on certain factors, such as the type and classification of the drug, the amount, or the geographic location. Any individuals who transport and import drugs from another country will likely face the most severe penalties. A drug transportation charge is a serious offense in the state of Maryland, and consequences of a conviction can include: a lengthy prison sentence; hefty fines; court-ordered drug testing, rehabilitation, or counseling; deportation for non-U.S. citizens; search and seizure of property; probation; and community service.

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January 23, 2012

Former Solider Gets 10 Year Prison Sentence in MD for Drug Charges

A resident of Hagerstown was sentence recently in federal court to 10 years in prison for conspiring to distribute illegal drugs in Western Maryland, according to Herald-mail.com. The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports the 26-year-old, who returned to Maryland in 2007 after serving in the military, entered into a conspiracy with others to obtain marijuana and cocaine from a Texas source with plans to sell it in Maryland. Money from the drug sales were deposited into bank accounts in both New Jersey and Maryland, and the money would subsequently be withdrawn in Texas to purchase more drugs.

The Hagerstown man pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, along with five other individuals who have also entered pleas.

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November 18, 2011

Drug Dealer Receives 10 Year Prison Sentence for Cocaine Possession in Worcester County

A convicted drug dealer was sentenced to 10 years in prison this week for cocaine-related charges. Stemming from a March arrest in Worcester County, the 27-year-old Maryland resident (who has a prior drug charge for crack cocaine possession) was found guilty of cocaine possession with intent to distribute.

The Maryland State Police arrested the man earlier this year when, after a short chase, police officers found the man in possession of a large plastic bag with three smaller bags containing crack cocaine. At the time, the suspect fled his car to try avoiding law enforcement, but the vehicle was never placed in park; the moving car eventually hit a rail guard on Route 113. A later inspection of the car produced even more drugs.

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September 14, 2011

Recovery Month Promotes the Benefits of Substance Abuse Treatment

September is Recovery Month, a month-long observance dedicated to celebrating people in recovery, noting the contributions of drug and alcohol abuse treatment providers, promoting the benefits of treating those with substance abuse disorders, and spreading the message that treatment can be successful.

Some crimes are directly related to the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. Most addicts are not bad people at heart; their addictions take hold of them and change the way they behave. When an addict needs a drink or a drug fix, he or she may do almost anything to fulfill that need. Addiction is linked to increases in several types of crime:

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July 29, 2011

Maryland Department of Health Proposes Ban on Drugs Labeled as "Bath Salts"

Authorities in Maryland are initiating a ban that may start as early as Sept. 1 on the sale of synthetic drugs known as “bath salts”. Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), has recently completed a six week study on the drugs and has declared them “dangerous”. He has asked for the immediate addition of the drugs to the state’s Schedule 1 Controlled Dangerous Substances list.

Because the substance is labeled as bath salts, they have been able to skirt federal drug laws. The product is available for purchase online and in stores, however, according to the DHMH, it was only found in 1% of stores in Maryland. Users of the “bath salts” smoke, inject, snort or eat them to get a high with similar effects as cocaine. The drugs have been shown to cause cardiac and circulatory problems, agitation, delirium, paranoia and psychosis. The Maryland State Poison Control Center is aware of 31 cases of “bath salts” poisoning and one death. The Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel and the Governor of Maryland support the proposed ban.

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June 20, 2011

Baltimore Woman Pleads Guilty to Trafficking Counterfeit Pills

According to a recent article on thebaynet.com, a Baltimore woman pleaded guilty to trafficking counterfeit Viagra pills. Over a four month period the woman sold more than $8,000 worth of pills to buyers who found her post on Craigslist.

Investigators from Pfizer, the company that manufactures real Viagra, were the first to tip off authorities about the woman’s activities after using an undercover investigator to buy the fakes from the woman. Authorities then sent their own undercover officer to meet with the woman, who sold the officer 25 pills and gave him 50 more on the proviso that he sell them and give her a cut of the profits.

Police were able to use that information to obtain a search warrant which lead to the seizure of nearly 46,000 pills at the woman’s home. The woman now faces a maximum of ten years in prison and a $2 million fine.

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March 18, 2011

Maryland Legislature Considers Bill to Notify Schools of Drug Arrests

Maryland criminal law already requires police officers to notify a student’s school if the student is arrested outside of school for any one of a long list of crimes. Now, the legislature is considering a bill that would add arrests for possession or administration of a controlled substance - known commonly as “drug dealing” - to that list, according to a recent article in The Herald-Mail.

The bill, introduced by Washington/Allegheny Delegate LeRoy E. Myers, Jr., adds drug crimes to the list of reportable crimes already included in the Safe Schools Act, such as murder, malicious defacing of property, and possessing firearms. Del. Myers says that he believes the current version of the Safe Schools Act overlooked drug crimes and that if schools were aware of a student’s arrest on a drug-related charge, the school may be able to help the student avoid similar arrests in the future.

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March 16, 2010

Woman Accused of Smuggling Drugs into Maryland Prison

According to a recent story, a 23-year-old woman from Glen Burnie was arrested for allegedly smuggling drugs into Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Maryland while visiting an incarcerated inmate. The report states that after receiving an anonymous tip, Police used drug sniffing dogs to catch the woman who turned over four latex balloons containing marijuana and heroin to authorities.

The suspect reportedly had two young children with her, both of whom were immediately handed over to social services following the incident. The young woman has six drug charges against her and as a consequence, faces a maximum of 36 years in prison and $68,000 in fines.

Under Maryland law, possession or use of any amount of marijuana is punishable by jail time and hefty fines. Heroin, a Schedule I narcotic, merits some of the most severe punishments in the criminal justice system.

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March 9, 2010

Two Men Arrested for Police Evasion, Drugs and Outstanding Warrant

Police in Cambridge, Maryland arrested two men on February 10, 2010 after they attempted to elude police during a traffic stop. According to news reports, when officers attempted to stop a vehicle for driving against a state of emergency order issued due to severe weather, the driver failed to pull over and attempted to elude the officers. Fortunately for police, when the driver turned from Washington Street onto St. Clair Avenue, his car became stuck in the snow. Three individuals then jumped from the vehicle and proceeded to flee on foot. The officers were able to catch and arrest both the driver and the front seat passenger.

The arresting officers found 22.3 grams of marijuana on the floor of the front passenger’s seat. The driver, a 22-year-old from Rhodesdale, was driving on a suspended driver’s license. In addition, the front seat passenger, a 25-year-old from Cambridge, was wanted on an outstanding warrant for 13 counts of animal cruelty. Both face multiple charges, and are being held at Dorchester County Detention Center.

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February 25, 2010

Prosecutors Bid to Increase Penalties for PCP Drug Possession

Washington D.C. prosecutors are weighing support for the city’s bid to increase PCP drug possession charges to felony charges under the pretext that violent psychosis caused by the drug warrants the increase of punishment. Based on a recent article, defense lawyers argue that possession of the drug without intent to sell should not garner long-term prison sentences.
Phencyclidine, a chemical substance commonly known as PCP, has been blamed for causing numerous violent rampages in Washington D.C. According to the District’s Pretrial Service Agency, nine percent of adults arrested in the District last year tested positive for the drug. The drug is known to cause paranoid thoughts, feelings of abnormal power, invulnerability and strength as well as panic and a sense of impending death.

Should the bid succeed, liquid PCP drug possession offenders will be punished with up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine on top of having a felony charge on their records. Defense attorneys rally that harsher penalties will result in more incarcerations, something many local governments are against.

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December 10, 2009

Doctor Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison for Providing Prescriptions over the Internet

According to an article from chicagotribune.com, a Virginia doctor has been sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for allegedly writing tens of thousands of prescriptions for muscle relaxants and other drugs. Apparently, the doctor provided these prescriptions over the Internet and did not meet or examine any of the patients. In addition to the seven counts held against him for introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, the doctor was also charged with four counts of tax evasion. He pleaded guilty to all the charges against him.

The doctor was also sentenced in the city of Boston’s federal court to three years of probation following release from his one-year sentence. Based on the article, prosecutors argued that between 2004 and 2007, the doctor gave out about 50,000 to 100,000 prescriptions based on forms refined for online pharmacies. He was reportedly paid $5 to $7 per prescription and never reported this income to the IRS.

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October 27, 2009

National Pagans Motorcycle Club President is One of 55 Arrested

A man from Myersville, Maryland, considered to be the President of the National Pagans Motorcycle Club, has been accused of leading the supposedly wide-spread outlaw biker gang in extortion, robbery, kidnapping, plotting to commit murder, weapons violations, and drug dealing, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia. Based on a baltimoresun.com report, more than 50 members and associates of the alleged gang are accused of conspiracy to kill and extort rival bikers in order to establish themselves as the top gang of bikers in the area. Those accused are reported to be in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Florida.

According to the article, within the 44-count, 83-page indictment document against those arrested, it is stated: “The PMC and its existing support clubs unlawfully threatened and intimidated people who wanted to start a motorcycle club in the PMC territory.” The article also mentioned that federal prosecutors are in search of holding the alleged leaders, including the Maryland man, and 20 others, without bail.

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September 17, 2009

Worcester County May Ban the Hallucinogen Salvia

It may surprise many Maryland residents that a hallucinogen is in fact legal both in our state and throughout the rest of the U.S. However a statewide ban on the hallucinogen, salvia, is waiting to be passed by the Maryland General Assembly. This ban may not come soon enough for Worcester County. According to a recent report, the County Commissioners introduced a bill to ban salvia in all of Worcester County. Decision on the bill will be made during a public hearing during which it will be decided whether or not emergency legislation should pass. If the bill is passed on September 1, 2009, it will go into effect right away.

The recent efforts to ban salvia are not the first Maryland has seen. A Mid-Shore Maryland State Senator last year sponsored a bill to criminalize salvia that turned out to be unsuccessful at getting the herb on the list of Schedule I drugs, those which are illegal to both possess and sell. The Senator referred to salvia as “one of the most powerful natural grown hallucinogens known to mankind…as powerful as psilocybin mushrooms.”

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September 10, 2009

Extra Padding a Bust: Woman at BWI Caught with Cocaine in Bra

A woman was recently caught trying to smuggle 2 pounds and 9 ounces of cocaine from Jamaica into Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The 35-year-old District woman split the cocaine into two packages and hid the large amount of drugs in her bra; one of the less invasive ways in which people try to transport drugs, but a common attempt at trickery that customs officials seem to be highly aware of.

According to a Customs and Border Protection port Director for the Port of Baltimore, “Narcotics smugglers will go to great lengths to conceal their dangerous drugs, and this is another unique concealment method…unfortunately for her, it wasn’t so unique that it fooled our highly trained officers even for a second.”

Although it has not been released at this time as to what charges the woman will face, she is likely to be accused of possession of cocaine, drug trafficking, intent to distribute, and even felony drug charges. All of these offenses have the potential to impose drastic changes in a person’s life, with consequences that may include lengthy sentencing with a slim opportunity for parole, fines amounting to thousands of dollars that can land one in debt, and years or even decades of incarceration. Additionally, undocumented individuals may also face deportation if convicted of drug offenses.

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August 4, 2009

Ocean City Man Posed as Doctor for Fraudulent Prescriptions

A recent article in the Maryland Coast Dispatch discusses the case of an Ocean City man who allegedly posed as a doctor and called in fake prescriptions to local pharmacies for painkillers. The article said that on June 11, 2009, officers with the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) narcotics unit began a pharmaceutical drug investigation of a man who had allegedly been calling in fake Hydrocodone prescriptions while posing as a doctor from Laurel, Maryland. The article said that the 38-year-old defendant in the Maryland drug crime case is from Ocean City, MD.

Detectives from the OCPD began their investigation of the man after receiving a tip from a pharmacist working for a pharmacy on 120th Street. Police officials said that the pharmacist suspected illegal activity from the way that the prescription drugs were being prescribed and the particular drug that was prescribed. In the course of conducting their investigation, OCPD detectives discovered that the person who the drugs were fraudulently prescribed for had recently been discharged as a patient from a Laurel, Maryland doctor’s office.

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July 21, 2009

Maryland Man and South Carolina Woman Face Drug Trafficking Charges

An article published in North Carolina's Davidson County Dispatch on May 14, 2009 reports that a Maryland man and a South Carolina woman were taken into custody by North Carolina authorities recently on drug trafficking charges. Each is being held in the Davidson County, North Carolina jail on $1 million bonds for allegedly trafficking drugs on Interstate 85. The drug trafficking arrests were made when a Davidson County Sheriff’s Deputy pulled over a Honda Accord with Maryland license plates near mile marker 100 on Interstate 85 for following another vehicle too closely.

A K-9 drug sniffing dog scanned the Accord and alerted the deputy to the presence of drugs. The deputy then conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle. In the process of searching the vehicle, the deputy found 10 pounds of marijuana in the trunk. The woman of Rock Hill, SC was driving the Accord when the arrest was made, and she faces charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, one count of maintaining a vehicle for trafficking marijuana and two counts of trafficking marijuana.

The 23-year-old passenger in the Accord of Mechanicsville, MD faces charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of trafficking marijuana.

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May 19, 2009

Phelps Incident Highlights Emotional, Financial Costs of Drug Use

Although Michael Phelps is currently facing no criminal or drug charges in relation to the infamous photo of the gold-medal winning swimmer allegedly inhaling from a marijuana water pipe, the repercussions from that photograph are still in effect. This example highlights one of the less pleasant aspects of the court of public opinion. Without a trial, and without a guilty verdict, drug use can have significant financial and emotional costs.

The Baltimore Sun reports in an article that Phelps has been dropped by Kellogg Foods, who had given the swimmer an endorsement deal. USA Swimming, the governing body for competitive swimming in America, has suspended him for three months and deprived him of his financial support during that same period. No drug charges have been filed against the swimmer, yet Phelps’s situation clearly illustrates the potential harm that merely being suspected of drug charges can do to a promising career.

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May 14, 2009

DUI Stop Leads to Drug Trafficking Charges

DelawareOnline reported in an article on March 20, 2009, that Georgetown police had stopped an Ocean City, MD man for allegedly driving under the influence. The routine DUI stop took a different turn when police searched the man and allegedly discovered over 40 packets of heroin in the subject’s pockets.

A further search of the DUI suspect’s vehicle revealed more heroin and drug paraphernalia. The total amount of heroin discovered was approximately 10 grams. Since the drugs were packaged in small discrete quantities, police were able to charge the man with drug trafficking.

Although this incident took place in Delaware, one could extrapolate what would happen if the charges were made in the Maryland court system. Under Maryland’s drug laws, the type of sentencing possible in a drug trafficking case depends on the type of controlled substance involved. Heroin, as a Schedule I narcotic, merits some of the most severe punishments under Maryland law.

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May 7, 2009

Former Miss Maryland Faces Cocaine and Conspiracy Charges

According to a FirstCoastNews.com report, former Miss Maryland Tia Shorts has been arrested on drug possession in Maryland and conspiracy charges. The former pageant contestant is being charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana and conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute.

The charges come on the heels of a series of arrests that took place near the Germantown residence where Shorts lived. In addition to Shorts, three other people were arrested on a variety of drug-related charges, including possession with intent to distribute heroin, marijuana and cocaine and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

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April 27, 2009

Zero Tolerance Drug Policies and the Next Generation

In a recent article from the Washington Post, columnist Marc Fisher discussed the confusion and anger that parents are expressing over Zero Tolerance drug policies at Maryland schools. The latest debate surrounds the plight of a Fairfax County junior who committed suicide when faced with possible expulsion over a violation of the school system’s zero tolerance drug policy.

Zero tolerance movements have gained popularity in various sectors of everyday life over the last two decades. The popularity of these tough movements seems to stem from how easy they are for politicians to sell to the public. School districts in particular love zero tolerance policies because they allow the administration to point to the one-size fits all rules and declare that “they are doing something about the problem.”

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March 5, 2009

Middle River Shooting Death Searching For Baltimore County Man

The Baltimore Sun reports in an article that the Baltimore County police are searching for 26-year-old Warren Jerome Yates of Dundalk in connection with a fatal shooting.

Police allege that on January 7, 2009, Yates sold another man $4000 worth of marijuana, for which he could be facing Maryland drug charges. The other man passed Yates a roll of bills to pay for the drugs, but only one of the bills was real.

The purchaser fled when Yates discovered the ruse, then Yates drew a gun and fired two shots at the man.

One of the shots struck 58-year-old Shirley Worcester, a Middle River resident who was standing outside of her home. The bullet hit Worcester in the chest, fatally wounding her.

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