U.S. guard arrested on drug charge

July 28, 1992|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff Writer

A federal police guard assigned to the U.S. Naval Academy was arrested on a drug charge Sunday night in downtown Annapolis after a city police officer stopped his truck and found the man with a bag containing crack cocaine.

Sgt. Duane M. McMahon, 37, of Stevensville, on Kent Island, told the officer that he was conducting a "personal investigation" into drug trafficking and planned to destroy the crack, police said.

Sergeant McMahon handed over the bag, saying it took him only "a couple of seconds to get it from the kids" at a low-income housing complex on Clay Street, according to the police report. He was arrested shortly after 10 p.m. and charged with possession, police said.

Naval Academy officials said they knew nothing about his "personal investigation."

"We were not condoning or authorizing that kind of activity," said Ronald Benefield, head of the Naval Investigative Service in Annapolis.

Annapolis police went to the Clay Street area initially to check a report of a drunken driver. When they arrived, one patrol officer recognized the driver as Sergeant McMahon, with whom he had worked previously.

While the city police officers watched, Sergeant McMahon pulled into Town Pines Court, a low-rise apartment complex off Clay Street. Several teen-agers leaned into the car window, causing police to become more suspicious, police said.

The officers followed him to Northwest Street, where they stopped him. Sergeant McMahon allegedly pulled out the bag containing a rock of cocaine weighing less than a gram and explained to the officers that he was checking into "what was going on," police said.

Sergeant McMahon is one of 26 civilian employees hired by the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct routine police patrols at the Naval Academy.

Academy officials had not decided yesterday whether to take any disciplinary action against Sergeant McMahon and will first review the police report, said spokeswoman Martha Thorne.

Sergeant McMahon was arraigned and released on personal recognizance. No trial date has been set.

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