A man state police describe as chief of a drug ring selling roughly $27 million in cocaine a year in Baltimore and surrounding counties has been arrested by a state police drug enforcement task force after two years of investigation.
Rashaud Williams, 32, was arrested Saturday night at a rowhouse in the 3100 block of Reisterstown Road across from Baltimore's Druid Hill Park.
The house is one of three that state police say Mr. Williams maintains in the Baltimore area.
He was charged with one count of distributing cocaine, said Tfc. J. Scott McCauley, spokesman for state police Bureau of Drug Enforcement.
"He was the top player in Maryland," said Trooper McCauley, referring to a drug ring that stretched from New York to Miami.
The ring, he said, sold 20 kilograms of cocaine in the Baltimore area a month -- street sales worth $2.26 million.
"We have warrants for four of his associates," said Trooper McCauley. "We're still seeking those people."
As of last night, however, state police had been unable to find the other suspects in the drug ring.
Mr. Williams is being held at the Cecil County Detention Center in Elkton, where he was taken yesterday on a warrant charging him with failing to appear for court proceedings stemming from a December 1991 handgun violation charge. He will get a bail review hearing today.
State police said they found the Reisterstown Road rowhouse had been stripped and rebuilt inside. Also found by police and seized were two vehicles, a Nissan Pathfinder and a Toyota Camry LE, Trooper McCauley said.
State police also said Mr. Williams owned at least two Jaguars on different occasions during their two-year surveillance of him.
They said that Mr. Williams claimed to have no legitimate employment and did not pay income tax since 1987.
Trooper McCauley said much of the contents of the Reisterstown Road home has been removed by the state and will be sold unless Mr. Williams can prove he didn't buy the expensive stereos and other items with drug profits.
Searches of Mr. Williams' two other residences -- an apartment in Catonsville and a house in Columbia -- turned up $10,000 in cash and two handguns, police said.
The Catonsville apartment was the drug ring's stash house, where drugs were stored, investigators said.
Mr. Williams was charged with one count of distributing cocaine, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $15,000 fine, or both.
Trooper McCauley said state authorities will be contacting the federal prosecutor's office in Baltimore to look into further charges being placed against Mr. Williams.
The state police spokesman said investigators first learned of drug activity involving Mr. Williams through an anonymous tipster, who called their Drug Tip Hotline at (800) 492-8477.