Roundup yields 24 arrests Drugs, gun, cash are confiscated in East Baltimore

January 10, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

More than 100 city, state and federal law enforcement officers conducted a series of raids yesterday in East Baltimore, resulting in 24 arrests on a variety of drug and weapon charges.

As suspects were being led away from a house in the 1000 block of N. Castle St., the captain in charge of drug enforcement for the city police said the roundup was part of a "weeding out" of violent undesirables in anticipation of the kickoff of "community policing."

Community policing, a strategy in which officers are assigned to specific neighborhoods to assist residents and solve problems, is set to begin next month in the Eastern District.

"We picked this area not only because it is the pilot district for community policing, but also because it's the most violent in the city," said Capt. Mike Andrew, head of the city police narcotics unit.

Illustrating the depth of the drug problem, he said it's also the area where a 10-year-old was found carrying 55 caps of heroin on New Year's Eve.

Residents of North Castle Street and a trash-strewn block of Prentiss Place gathered in their doorways and watched from their windows as police led suspects from homes to patrol wagons. Most residents told reporters they knew nothing of any illegal activities in the raided homes; neighbors insisted they did not know who lived in the houses.

A woman standing in her doorway was one of the few to openly rejoice in the suspects' arrests.

"I'm happy," the woman said, "because they're breaking in people'shouses and I'm an old lady." The woman declined to give her name.

When the operation was nearly complete, police showed off the booty from the raids on the 11 houses: a pound of marijuana, bags and vials of cocaine, a sawed-off shotgun and a still-uncounted array of $1, $10 and $20 bills.

Captain Andrew dismissed an inquiry as to whether the raids -- and the invitations for media coverage -- had been scheduled to counter recent criticism of the department and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke for their response to crime in the city.

No, he said, explaining that the operation involving officers from the city and state police and from the FBI, the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Drug Enforcement Administration, was too large to have been planned in the days since City Council members and community leaders began blasting Mayor Schmoke and Police Commissioner Edward V. Woods.

Police said the raids came after a five-month investigation that had led to 51 arrests before yesterday.

Police said those arrested on various drug and weapon charges included:

Jonathan Turnage, 19, of the 500 block of N. Belnord Ave.; Samuel Shellington, 41, of the 200 block of Bethel Court; Ulysses Featherstone, 41, and Leon Tillery, 41, both of the 2200 block of E. Biddle St.; Clement Molener, 28, of the 1700 block of Windemere Ave.; Robert Henley, 45, and Marion Beckwith, 54, both of the 1000 block of N. Castle St.; and Sylvester S. Snider, 22, of the 2300 block of E. Oliver St.

Also: Michelle B. Ray, 24, and Eddie James Sutton, 26, both of the 1700 block of N. Bradford St.; Antonio T. Williams, 22, Walter Whitacker, 60, Zackery K. Taylor, 34, Jerome Simmons, 38, and John H. Johnson, 25, all of the 200 block of Prentiss Place; Gregory Cole, 42, of the 2400 block of Jefferson St.

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