WESTMINSTER -- A 26-year-old Main Street man -- already convicted twice of cocaine distribution -- could face a mandatory 25-year sentence if he is convicted of the crime a third time.
Noland Maurice Rheubottom was charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute after members of the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force raided his apartment on June 19 and seized more than a half-ounce of cocaine, $4,400 in cash, hand-held scales, a telephone pager and numerous other electronic items.
More than 20 calls were received at the apartment during the two-hour raid, court records show. A caller-identification device on the apartment's phone had stored 10 numbers of earlier callers, police said.
Court records also show that Rheubottom told task force officers he "sold cocaine, but not at the residence." When asked about the hand-held scale, Rheubottom told officers that "you can't use a hand-held scale to weigh cocaine" and that "if he had lots of money, he wouldn't be doing stuff like selling drugs," court records show.
"I had a feeling something was going to happen today," Rheubottom told officers when they knocked at his apartment door, police reported. He was sitting in the living room, chatting on the phone at the time.
Additional charges stemming from the raid include maintaining a common nuisance, possession of cocaine, and possession and use of drug paraphernalia. Those charges carry the possibility of an additional nine years behind bars.
Rheubottom's 21-year-old wife, Kristie Ann Rheubottom, was also arrested and charged with the same offenses during the raid. She is being held in the Carroll County Detention Center on a reduced bond of $1,000.
Rheubottom also is awaiting trial in the detention center. Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. -- who signed the search warrant -- last Wednesday refused to reduce his bond, which is set at $37,500.
During the bail-reduction hearing, Rheubottom's attorney, Westminster lawyer Stephen P. Bourexis, implored Judge Burns to allow Rheubottom's father to put his house up as bond.
"He has no way to come up with the proceeds himself, and his father is willing to put the only asset he has on the line for his son," Mr. Bourexis said.
Rheubottom's father's house is worth $30,000, Mr. Bourexis said.
Three-time drug distribution offenders are rare in Carroll County, said Assistant State's Attorney Barton F. Walker III, the task force's coordinator.
Also rare is the use of a mandatory sentence in county courts.
"You don't see this all the time," Mr. Walker said. "He's not just run-of-the-mill."
Rheubottom was convicted by Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute June 19, 1991, and was given a suspended seven-year sentence and placed on five years of probation.
That conviction stemmed from a July 1990 drug task force raid on an Eldersburg home Rheubottom was visiting. Task force officers found a half-ounce of cocaine, $500 in cash and a pipe used to smoke marijuana in a pouch Rheubottom was carrying.
Prior to that conviction, Rheubottom was found guilty of the same offense in September 1990 by a Baltimore Circuit Court judge. He was sentenced to two years in state prison, a sentence that court records say he served until earlier this year.