2 officers among 13 drug suspects "Major" drug ring cracked, city police say.

June 27, 1991|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,Evening Sun Staff

Two Baltimore police officers and an alleged Woodlawn dru chieftain are among 13 people seized in a series of drug arrests last night and today.

Federal authorities say the arrests cracked a "major" New York heroin, crack cocaine and gun distribution network allegedly headed by James C. Harris, 35, of Shadwell Court in Woodlawn.

Arrested separately were two city police officers: Monique Hill, 22, who has been on the force since August 1989, and Kimberly Peoples, 30, who has been with the department since May 1990.

Both officers are recent graduates of the Baltimore City Police Training and Education Division and were in their probationary period with the department, said Police Commissioner Edward V. Woods.

A federal agent alleged that Harris' heroin and crack cocaine organization distributed about 5 kilograms of heroin and 10 kilograms of crack cocaine -- with a retail value of about $2 million -- a month.

A team of federal, state and local drug agents arrested Harris about 6:30 a.m. today at the Stratton Meadows Apartments in Woodlawn.

When agents burst into the two-story brick house to arrest Harris, his 11-month-old daughter was asleep in a bed next to her father. Found near where Harris and the child slept was a .38-caliber automatic handgun, police said.

The child lived with her mother at a city residence that was also raided today. The daughter had spent the night with Harris, a DEA agent said. The child was turned over to the Department of Social Services.

As Harris was led from his house, he angrily kicked a television cameraman.

Agents said the sweep was part of a nine-month investigation that included purchases of heroin and crack cocaine from the upper echelon of the organization.

Some deals were arranged by Harris himself, Special Agent Douglas N. Biales of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration alleged.

"This is a very violent organization," Woods said as he held an Uzi assault rifle that was seized during the raids. "This shows the type of organization it is." Woods commented on the arrests at the 5th Regiment Armory, where the weapons and drugs were displayed.

The investigation began after investigators learned that New York drug dealers were muscling in on Baltimore dealers and taking over their distribution businesses.

The heroin allegedly sold by the Harris organization had a purity ranging from 36 percent to 86 percent, compared with the usual street purity of three percent to 11 percent.

Ten to 15 weapons have been recovered, along with $10,000 in cash, said Biales. Further arrests are expected.

Only small amounts of heroin, cocaine and marijuana were confiscated during today's raids. Biales said the dealers were very sophisticated and did not store large

amounts of drugs at any one location.

"They did not stockpile drugs," Biales said. "They used what they needed and then went back to get more supplies."

John F. Purcell Jr., of the U.S. Attorney's Office, said Harris was the target of the raids and labeled him a large-scale urban drug distributor.

RF He said the organization regularly used couriers to transport the

drugs from New York to the Baltimore area and used weapons that "have no purpose other than to kill people."

Police spokesman Dennis Hill said that Monique Hill, one of the officers apprehended, had been assigned to the southeast district. She was arrested at 10:15 p.m. yesterday at the police Internal Investigation Division downtown while she was at work.

Kimberly Peoples, assigned to the northeast district, was arrested shortly after 8 a.m. when she reported for work.

Both officers were charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. They were interviewed and processed by investigators, and have since been relieved of their police duties, Commissioner Woods said.

Police did not release the names of the other 11 people arrested.

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