The former manager of the Valley View Inn in Parkville went on trial yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court on charges of importing and selling large amounts of cocaine in Baltimore and Harford counties.
Roland Mazzone of Perry Hall is accused of importing cocaine from New York and distributing it in the metropolitan area.
"It was a significant amount of drugs," said Frank Meyer, a Baltimore County prosecutor. "He was at the top of the pyramid in the state."
If convicted, Mr. Mazzone faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and another 25 years ... TC for importing the drug to Maryland, Mr. Meyer said.
State police and officers from Harford and Baltimore counties conducted a 2 1/2 -year investigation and recorded nearly 10,000 phone calls. In August 1991, they seized 3.1 pounds of cocaine from various locations linked to the drug ring.
Seventeen people accused of being part of the drug operation have been arrested. Most of them have pleaded guilty and been sentenced, Mr. Meyer said.
Elizabeth Mazzone, Mr. Mazzone's wife, received a two-year suspended sentence. Carl Briscoe, 49, of Phoenix was given an eight-year sentence, with all but 18 months suspended, Mr. Meyer said.
Yesterday, prosecutors played six telephone conversations, five between Mr. Briscoe and Mr. Mazzone. A detective said the conversations were about money that Mr. Briscoe owed Mr. Mazzone for cocaine.
Russell White, Mr. Mazzone's attorney, repeatedly objected to the tapes being used as evidence and asked police how they knew the conversations were about drugs when drugs were never mentioned. At one point on the tapes, Mr. Mazzone told Mr. Briscoe that he needed to be paid for "those Orioles tickets."
Cpl. Richard Lisko, a county narcotics detective, testified that Orioles tickets were mentioned to avoid mentioning drugs.