Drug-ring figure is charged with murder, shooting East Baltimore man was free on bail

March 12, 1992|By John Rivera and Richard Irwin | John Rivera and Richard Irwin,Staff Writers William B. Talbott contributed to this story.

A man awaiting trial on charges of helping run a multimillion-dollar East Baltimore heroin operation was charged yesterday with killing a 19-year-old Baltimore County man and wounding another man in apparently drug-related violence, police said.

Eric Lamont "Big Eric" Johnson, 27, of the 900 block of North Belnord Avenue was charged with murder and a felony handgun charge.

The victims were standing in the 2100 block of Ashland Avenue in East Baltimore about 11 p.m. Wednesday 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. Mr. Camphor was pronounced dead at the scene.

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

Mr. Johnson was indicted on drug-conspiracy charges in November along with Eric Labrent "Little Eric" Coley. The two men were accused of operating the "Eric and Eric" heroin ring, which police called a $3 million-a-year operation.

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Coley were arrested Nov. 7 in a drug raid in which police seized 150 glassine bags of heroin, $14,000 in cash, three vehicles and a police scanner. The raid was the result of a yearlong investigation prompted by citizen complaints, tips received on the city's drug hot line and information from other arrested drug dealers, police said.

Both men were charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, possession of heroin and possession with intent to distribute.

Police said "Eric and Eric" were brazen about their hold on the area. They were often seen driving around the Madison Street-Edison Highway corridor in a customized jeep with their monikers painted on the side.

Dealers linked to the drug operation would stand on street corners selling heroin and would tell uniformed officers that they were "untouchable" in the area. The ring earned between $5,000 and $10,000 daily from drug transactions, police said.

The drug ring terrorized the East Baltimore neighborhood for about a year, police said.

A grand jury indicted a total of 11 alleged members of the ring, including three lieutenants and six street workers.

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Coley were released on $100,000 bail after the November arrests. They are to stand trial May 14 in Baltimore Circuit Court.

Court records show that Mr. Johnson was arrested in December 1988 and charged with killing a man who allegedly had been robbing dealers involved in the heroin ring. Mr. Johnson was acquitted of the murder charge in May 1989.

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

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