10-year-old boy caught assisting in drug scam

January 27, 1993|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

Undercover narcotics officers last month staked out an East Baltimore neighborhood and watched a 24-year-old man running a drug scam assisted by a 10-year-old boy who had a .38-caliber handgun sticking out of the waistband of his pants, the city state's attorney's office reported.

"To use juveniles [in the drug trade] is not unusual. To use someone near that age is unusual," said Charles J. Peters, an assistant city state's attorney.

William Sinkler of the 400 block of N. Bradford St. has been indicted for conspiring with a 10-year-old to sell look-alike drugs, Mr. Peters said.

Mr. Sinkler was being held at the Baltimore City Detention Center on $75,000 bail.

His alleged accomplice -- a fourth-grade student -- has been placed in the custody of his mother and faces possible juvenile charges, Mr. Peters said.

The investigation began several months ago when members of a joint Narcotics Task Force staked out a neighborhood in the 2200 block of Ashland Ave. During the surveillance, undercover officers watched as Mr. Sinkler directed drug customers to the boy, Mr. Peters said.

Mr. Peters said the youngster sold capsules of quinine for $10-apiece to unsuspecting customers who thought they were purchasing heroin. The youngster made "a dollar or two" for each cap he sold, the prosecutor added.

"In a sense that [selling look-a-like drugs] is more dangerous because of the possible retribution [from disgruntled customers]," Mr. Peters said.

When police arrested Mr. Sinkler on New Year's Eve, the boy had 55 capsules of quinine -- normally used as a cutting agent for narcotics -- and an unloaded revolver in the front of his belt.

Police said Mr. Sinkler assaulted one of the officers who arrested him. The officer suffered a large gash on his hand that required treatment.

During the surveillance, police said they saw the youngster remove the weapon from his trousers.

On at least on occasion, Mr. Sinkler told the boy to keep the weapon in his pants, police said.

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