Severna Park principal seized, charged as drug-ring kingpin

October 30, 1992|By Kris Antonelli and Arthur Hirsch | Kris Antonelli and Arthur Hirsch,Staff Writers Staff writers Peter Hermann, Deidre Nerreau McCabe, John Rivera and Andrea F. Siegel contributed to this article.

A map in the Oct. 30 edition of The Sun showing 12 sites raided by Anne Arundel County police in a drug sweep contained one incorrect address. A home at 2904 Trainor Lane in Bowie was one of the locations raided.

The Sun regrets the errors.

The principal of Severna Park Elementary School and her husband were arrested and charged as drug kingpins in a pre-dawn sweep by Anne Arundel County police that netted $1 million worth of marijuana and 10 arrests.

The raids of homes and rented storage bins broke a drug ring that operated from Baltimore to Prince George's County and had ties to Mexico and four states, officials said. Officers confiscated 800 pounds of marijuana, the largest single seizure of the drug ever in the county. Also seized were $320,000 in cash, 10 cars and three boats.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

News of the arrest of Principal Patricia Emory stunned parents and school officials. "It's unbelievable," said Carlene Heilman, president of the Northeast High School PTA, who worked with Ms. Emory, a former principal at nearby Solley Elementary. "I wouldn't have dreamt this in a million years."

Ms. Emory, 45, and her husband, James Emory, 47, were arrested about 5:30 a.m. when police forced open the tall wood-paneled doors of their waterfront home in Pasadena. Both were charged with possession and intent to distribute marijuana under the drug kingpin statute. They were being held without bail last night at the county detention center.

Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Frank Weathersbee said both were "major players" in the operation. Capt. Michael P. Fitzgibbons, commander of the county's Criminal Investigations Division, said, "We've had people in this county working on [this operation] as far back as 1976 and nobody's been able to bust them. They were very good."

Also among those arrested: Phillip B. Dulaney, 48, of 1089 Woodlawn Ave., Pasadena, who also was charged under the kingpin statute; and Mr. Emory's brother and sister-in-law, Roger L. Emory, 43, and Linda D. Emory, 42, both of 7752 West Drive, Glen Burnie.

The raids began at 2 a.m. as more than 50 officers fanned out through Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Prince George's counties. They confiscated packages of marijuana from storage

bins in Glen Burnie, Pasadena and Fallston and made arrests at seven homes.

By 8 a.m., the team of officers had moved into the city.

At the Emory home on Villa Isle Court in Pasadena, a residence that officers said they estimate as being worth about $500,000, police confiscated $10,000 and financial records.

Authorities said they were considering whether to seize the residence itself. A police videotape made during the morning search revealed a spacious home of cathedral ceilings, polished wood floors, oriental rugs and a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace in the living room. .

Ms. Emory is paid $63,837 a year at Severna Park Elementary, of which she has been principal since September 1991, school officials said. Police said her husband, a former contractor, had been unemployed.

Ms. Emory has worked 19 1/2 years for the school system. She earlier worked as a reading teacher at Benfield Elementary School in Severna Park. She earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Maryland, College Park in December 1989.

Principal Leslie Mobray of Severna Park Middle School echoed his colleagues' astonishment.

"You've knocked me for a loop," Mr. Mobray said. "This information places me at a loss. I'm trying to digest what you're saying."

Lewis Frey, principal of Oak Hill Elementary School in Severna Park, described Ms. Emory as "a very good principal. Very community-oriented, very children-oriented. . . . We've gone to conventions together, professional meetings."

A Severna Park Elementary School parent said a special assembly was planned at the school this morning to help children understand what has happened.

Yesterday afternoon, Lynda Thebaud drove to the school to pick up her son, Delphin, 8, a third-grader. She described him as "devastated" when she told him the principal had been arrested. She said her son looked up to the principal and was fond of her.

"I thought she was a lovely woman. She is. She is a wonderful woman," Ms. Thebaud said. "It's so sad. I feel sorry for the kids."

The five others arrested yesterday were identified as: George T. Johnson, 47, of 939 Lombardee Circle, Glen Burnie; Lawrence C. Leiben, 49, of 17 St. Agnes Road, Glen Burnie; Douglas K. Peace, 37, of Glen Burnie; and William Bailey Jr., 46, and Barry E. Parker, 43, both of Bywater Farm Road, Annapolis; The investigation began last year after police raided the William Bailey home and reported confiscating 22 grams of marijuana and $96,000. That raid triggered a probe that included months of surveillance as police watched bundles of marijuana move from cars to storage bins.

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