Police return confiscated computer to businesswoman

June 17, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

The Carroll County Narcotics Task Force last week returned more than $40,000 worth of computers and software to a Westminster woman after holding the equipment for more than a month.

On Friday, the drug task force returned the computer equipment, which contained all of the operational records of Pamela Davis' imported clothing business. The task force had seized it May 7 after a task force officer dressed as a United Parcel Service employee delivered a package containing 1.5 ounces of marijuana to her home.

The computer equipment and dozens of disks filled with data contained just about all of the information Davis uses in operating Terrapin Station, the $380,000-a-year Guatemalan clothing and accessory import business she runs out of her home in Westminster.

The computers "contain software and data that are utilized eight hours a day, six and a half days a week in the operation of my business," Davis said in the court filing. "Without it, we have no idea what has been ordered by our customers or what is to be shipped."

By returning the equipment, the task force has made one part of Davis' $100,000 suit against the drug group a moot issue.

"The task force has chosen not to litigate the issue any further," said Charles O. Fisher Jr., the Westminster attorney who filed a suit in which Davis requested the return of the computers as well as monetary damages.

The suit was filed two weeks after the raid, in which Davis and two of her adult children were charged with drug possession and distribution. The only drug found in the house, court records show, was the marijuana delivered by the task force.

The task force confiscated her computer equipment to look for coded data that might link Davis and her company to drug activity, court records show. Davis offered to copy all of her computer records and give them to the task force.

The drug group returned the computers after determining its members had taken all of the information they needed from the equipment.

"Once we got the information analyzed, we were prepared to return the computers to her," said Barton F. Walker III, the assistant state's attorney who is the coordinator of the task force. "We got what we needed."

He did not elaborate on what they had obtained.

Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold was to hear arguments from Walker yesterday morning as to why the computers shouldn't be returned, but the hearing was called off after it was learned the equipment had been returned.

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