A Jamaican national who owns two businesses in Baltimore County has been charged under Maryland's drug-kingpin law with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, state police said yesterday.
Wayne A. Espeut, 30, of the first block of Walden Maple Court in Woodlawn was charged Monday when state police raided six locations in Baltimore County after an 11-month joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization.
State police also charged another Jamaican national and two Baltimore County residents with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
Cpl. John E. Burton of the state police drug enforcement division said Mr. Espeut came to Maryland from New York about three years ago. He set up two businesses in Baltimore County -- Video Maddness and Michelle's Beauty Salon, both at 7408 Windsor Mill Road -- and allegedly used the businesses to launder drug money, Corporal Burton said.
Mr. Espeut is being held in Baltimore County on $1 million bond. Under Maryland's drug-kingpin statute, Mr. Espeut faces higher penalties and his assets may be seized if he is convicted.
During the searches Monday, state police said they confiscated 1.5 pounds of cocaine at a Town and Country apartment on Essex Road. Robert Arthur Blake, 36, of the 4000 block of Bonner Road in Baltimore and Vestillia A. Monts, 31, of the 9000 block of Ames Court in Randallstown were arrested at the Essex Road apartment and charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, Corporal Burton said.
Both are being held in Baltimore County on $100,000 bonds.
Police also confiscated $20,000 in cash, $15,000 of it at the Randallstown residence of Winston A. Brown, 36, another Jamaican national.
Mr. Brown, of the 4000 block of Springsleigh Road was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and is being held in Baltimore County on $100,000 bond.
Corporal Burton said the suspects are charged with operating a small drug ring with cocaine coming from New York and Florida.
The group had only 10 or so customers, he said, but the sales ranged from several ounces to a pound -- much more than the average street buy.
Corporal Burton said other arrests are expected after state police take their evidence to a grand jury.