Man charged in E. Baltimore slaying Suspect had been arrested in November in city drug raid.

March 11, 1992|By John Rivera and Richard Irwin | John Rivera and Richard Irwin,Evening Sun Staff William B. Talbott contributed to this story.

One man was shot to death and another was wounded in an apparently drug-related shooting last night at an intersection in East Baltimore, police said.

Later, police said they arrested a reputed drug dealer in connection with the shootings. Eric Lamont "Big Eric" Johnson, 27, of the 900 block of N. Belnord Ave., was charged today with first-degree murder and a handgun felony charge.

The victims were standing in the 2100 block of Ashland Ave. about 11 p.m. when a man got out of a white car and shot Roderick Camphor, 19, of the 7200 block of Oakhaven Circle in Hebbville, in the back and chest, police said. Mr. Camphor was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dwayne Harris, 27, of the 1100 block of S. Hanover St., standing nearby, was shot in the right thigh and shoulder. He was in good condition today at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

On the pavement, police found several shell casings from a semiautomatic handgun. Police said the area where the shootings occurred has a history of drug activity and that a beeper was found on Mr. Camphor's body.

Mr. Johnson was arrested last November along with Eric Labrent "Little Eric" Coley, of the first block of Emelia Woods Court in Raspeburg, for operating what police called a $3 million-a-year East Baltimore heroin ring. Both men were charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, possession of heroin and possession with intent to distribute.

That drug raid, in which police seized 150 glassine bags of heroin, $14,000, three vehicles and a police scanner, came after more than a year of investigation prompted by citizen complaints and information from other arrested drug dealers.

Police said the two men, who were known as "Eric and Eric" and drove around the Madison Street-Edison Highway corridor in a customized jeep with their monikers painted on the side, were brazen about their hold on the area.

Their dealers would openly stand on street corners selling heroin and would tell uniformed officers that they were "untouchable" in the area, police said.

The drug ring terrorized the East Baltimore neighborhood for about a year. Eastern District narcotics detectives said the ring did not have to use violence because the members intimidated people.

"For a long time, people have been calling complaining about 'Eric and Eric,' " said Eastern District commander Major Alvin A. Winkler shortly after those arrests. "Thank God, we have them in custody."

A grand jury indicted nine people who allegedly were involved in the drug ring. Both Mr. Johnson and Mr. Coley were released on bail after the November arrests and are scheduled to stand trial May 14 in Baltimore Circuit Court.

Court records show that Mr. Johnson was arrested in December 1988 and was charged with murder and attempted murder. He found not guilty of murder and the attempted murder charge was dropped.

In June 1987, Mr. Johnson pleaded guilty to possession of heroin. He was given an 18-month suspended sentence and was on probation for two years.

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