Case dropped against drug-run passenger Ride with dealer won't go to trial

November 18, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

While Robert John Stevenson Jr. sold a 19-gram package of marijuana to an undercover narcotics officer in Union Mills last November, his friend John Fogle sat nearby in a truck and didn't say a word.

Mr. Fogle, of New Windsor, didn't participate in the sale and, according to court records, "sat in the truck, faced straight ahead, with his hands between his legs."

Nonetheless, he was riding around with Stevenson that night, and his presence was enough to cause a Carroll County grand jury to hand down a five-count indictment in March. The indictment charged Mr. Fogle with two counts of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Since his arrest in March, Mr. Fogle, who lives in New Windsor, had been gearing up to defend himself in front of a Circuit Court jury. But Monday, when Carroll Public Defender Barbara Kreinar sought a list of potential jurors in the case, she learned that prosecutors had already told the county's jury commissioner that a jury wouldn't be needed.

Yesterday, saying the case against Mr. Fogle was "not a good one," prosecutors dropped all charges against him.

"This just wasn't a very strong case," Assistant State's Attorney Eileen McInerney said yesterday morning before Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold convened court for the day.

According to testimony at a pre-trial motions hearing in July, Mr. Fogle appears to have been arrested and charged for merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"The facts in the case reflected that [Mr. Fogle's] involvement consisted of being a passenger in a vehicle," Ms. Kreinar wrote in a petition filed yesterday for the expungement of Mr. Fogle's records in the criminal case. "The driver of the vehicle made a sale. . . . Mr. Fogle did not participate in the sale."

Ms. Kreinar declined to comment on the case yesterday. Assistant State's Attorney Barton F. Walker II, who heads the county's drug task force, could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Fogle was the second person arrested for driving around with Stevenson while he made his drug-selling rounds.

Stevenson's 18-year-old girlfriend, Connie Marie Shore, was indicted on five drug possession and distribution charges in February after Stevenson sold pot to an undercover narcotics officer.

As a result of those indictments, the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force seized her 1976 pickup -- the one in which Mr. Fogle was sitting last November -- and sold it.

In August, Ms. Shore agreed to a statement of facts supplied to the court by a prosecutor. Judge Arnold found her guilty of one count of conspiracy, and prosecutors dropped the four other charges against her.

Judge Arnold sentenced her to three years of unsupervised probation. Because he granted that probation before entering his guilty finding, she will be able to have a clean criminal record at the completion of her sentence.

At the time, Judge Arnold said to Ms. Shore, "I'm not totally convinced you were deeply involved in this. You were there when your boyfriend was selling things to undercover policemen."

Less than an ounce of marijuana was sold to undercover agents.

Stevenson, 23, of the 4800 block of Arters Mill Road in Westminster, was the only one of the three who was convicted as a drug dealer.

Indicted in February on 19 drug charges, Stevenson entered into a plea bargain in August in which he accepted a prosecutor's statement of facts. He was found guilty of one count of possession of marijuanaith intent to distribute, but the state dropped the 18 remaining charges against him.

He was sentenced last month to 18 months in state prison. All but six months of the sentence was suspended by Judge Arnold. Had he been convicted on all charges, he could have been sentenced to nearly 300 years in jail.

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