Couple charged in drug raid protest their innocence

November 13, 1992|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

A Sykesville chiropractor and his wife who were arrested last week on drug charges say they were the unwitting victims of a friend who had been living in their home.

Howard County police arrested Steven Craig Boesche, 39, of the 13800 block of Forsythe Road and four others, including his wife, Michelle Marie Boesche, 27, during a series of raids Nov. 4. A housemate, Taoufik Benhamd Salah, who police describe as a )) key figure in the ring, also was arrested.

"I'm not involved with this conspiracy," Mr. Boesche said. "I didn't know about any drug ring."

Although police initially linked all five suspects to a cocaine and heroin distribution ring, police now say they do not believe Mr. Boesche was involved in distributing drugs.

He was charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia after police said they found a pipe containing suspected marijuana residue in his home.

Mr. Boesche said police did not show him the pipe and he does not know if it belongs to him. He said he and his wife have never used cocaine, although he acknowledged having used marijuana the past.

Lt. Jeffrey Spaulding, head of the Police Department's narcotics unit says Mrs. Boesche remains charged as part of the ring. She faces a conspiracy to distribute cocaine charge after police said they observed her at a drug deal Aug. 8 at Route 40 and Plum Tree Drive, according to court records.

Mr. Boesche was released on his own recognizance and his wife was released on $5,000 unsecured bond, court records showed.

In telephone interviews this week, the Boesches said they were stunned by the charges and by police descriptions of Mr. Salah as a major drug distributor.

"It's just out of the blue -- wham, bam, smash," Mr. Boesche said.

"I'm not part of it," Mrs. Boesche said of the alleged ring. "Basically, I'm guilty by association."

Police believe Mr. Salah, 25, who moved in with the couple last month, and another man, Samuel Somarriba, 22, of Baltimore County, were the leaders of a ring that poured $200,000 of cocaine a month into Howard and Baltimore counties. The group also distributed heroin, police said.

Mr. Salah was charged with cocaine and heroin distribution and is being held on $350,000 bail. Mr. Somarriba was charged with distribution of cocaine. He's being held on $260,000 bail at the Howard County Detention Center.

Police also charged Mary Louise Tablada, 35, of the 6900 block of Lawyers Hill Road in Elkridge, with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. She was released on $7,550 bail.

Mr. Boesche, who has an office in West Friendship and is the father of two young boys, said he met Mr. Salah at a bar last winter and established a friendship during the summer.

Mr. Salah, of Tunisia, was studying business at the Community College of Catonsville and planned to open a restaurant in his native land, Mr. Boesche said.

When Mr. Salah asked if he could stay with the Boesches in October until he found another apartment, Mr. Boesche agreed.

"I liked this guy," he said.

On Nov. 4, police raided three residences, including the Boesche home.

Lt. Jeffrey Spaulding, head of the police department's narcotics unit, said about an ounce of cocaine was found in Mr. Salah's bedroom and an unspecified amount of cocaine and cash were found in his white Nissan outside.

Police also raided the homes of Mr. Somarriba and Ms. Tablada. In all, police said they confiscated more than a pound of cocaine valued at $45,000 on the street, about $16,000 in cash and three handguns.

Court records showed Mr. Salah allegedly made 10 drug sales to an undercover narcotics detective. On one occasion the detective saw Mrs. Boesche in the couple's Jeep Cherokee after Mr. Salah got out to make a drug deal.

In court papers, the detective said it was clear that Mrs. Boesche knew about the drug deal, and that she assisted Mr. Salah by driving him.

But yesterday she said Mr. Salah had asked her for a ride to the gas station that day because a friend of his had car problems. When she arrived, she left the two and went inside a store. When she came back, she spoke to both of them to be friendly.

Court records also said a pager that Mr. Salah used primarily for drug transactions was owned by Mrs. Boesche. Mrs. Boesche said he sold her the pager in late August for $120 because he was buying another one. But she said he took back the one he sold her.

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