Vogel pleads guilty to drugs

November 14, 1990|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Evening Sun Staff Ross Peddicord contributed to this story.

Racetrack owner Mark R. Vogel, who has pleaded guilty to a Virginia cocaine-possession charge, still faces possible charges from a continuing federal drug probe, sources said.

Vogel has been implicated in a 2-year-old federal drug probe being handled in part by the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore. That case is continuing and may eventually go to a grand jury, sources said.

Vogel, 42, yesterday pleaded guilty in Fairfax County, Va., to one felony count of possession of cocaine. He received what amounted to probation before judgment, which means there will be no conviction on his record if he stays out of trouble for the next year.

Under an agreement with prosecutors, Judge F. Bruce Bach declined to accept the guilty plea and placed Vogel on probation until Nov. 29, 1991. If Vogel stays out of trouble, the charge will be dismissed next November, under the judge's order.

As part of his probation, Vogel must report regularly to a probation counselor and undergo drug testing.

"Hopefully, this now puts an end to a very unhappy chapter in the life of Mark Vogel," said his attorney, Paul Mark Sandler.

Mark Simmons, the assistant commonwealth's attorney who prosecuted the case, said first-time offenders in cases similar to Vogel's routinely receive probation before judgment.

Vogel was stopped by a federal agent Sept. 13 as he drove in Great Falls, Va., outside of Washington. Fairfax County police, who were summoned to the scene and made the actual arrest, reported finding just under four grams of cocaine under the seat in Vogel's car.

Two weeks later, federal authorities seized Vogel's Jet Ranger helicopter from Martin State Airport, after agents charged in a court affidavit that Vogel had used the craft to take drugs to Atlantic City.

Vogel is the owner of the state's only two harness tracks, Rosecroft Raceway in southern Prince George's County, and Delmarva Downs, near Ocean City. Vogel has turned over day-to-day control of the two tracks to a trustee appointed by the Maryland Racing Commission, which was concerned that Vogel was bleeding the tracks to support his failing real estate development business.

The tracks are now up for sale and at least two groups are interested in buying them, according to sources.

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