Drug defendant challenges search warrants

February 25, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

Hundreds of pounds of marijuana discovered in a storage locker last fall should not be used as evidence against a Glen Burnie man charged as a drug kingpin because the search warrants for the locker were faulty, the man's lawyer argued yesterday.

Michael F. Gilligan argued in a pre-trial hearing that police didn't have enough evidence against his client, George T. Johnson, to get the warrant for the lockers in Millersville and Severn.

Mr. Johnson, 47, was charged last fall as a drug kingpin in the biggest marijuana case in county history. The trial for him and William Bailey, Jr., 46, is tentatively scheduled to start in April.

Judge H. Chester Goudy said yesterday he would study the questions Mr. Gilligan raised before he ruled.

Mr. Gilligan argued, for example, that the only fact in the six affidavits police filed that pertained to Mr. Johnson was his friendship with Mr. Bailey.

The two were "old Army buddies," and Mr. Johnson used his house as collateral to post $75,000 bail for Mr. Bailey when he was arrested on drug charges last June, Mr. Gilligan said.

The warrant also mentions that Mr. Johnson was seen in Mr. Bailey's company and was seen visiting the lockers, and that police dogs taken to the lockers gave an "alert" signal that they contained marijuana.

But Mr. Gilligan argued, that wasn't enough evidence, either.

He said there was nothing in the warrants specifying what type of dog was used to sniff for drugs, whether the dog was trained to detect drugs and whether its signal that there were drugs in the lockers constituted probable cause to approve the searches.

"That could've been my wife's French poodle from all we know from the affidavits," he said.

Last month, Judge Goudy ordered that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Bailey be tried in one trial, and that co-defendants James Mitchell Emory, 47, of Pasadena, Roger Lee Emory, 43, of Glen Burnie, and Philip B. Dulany, 48, of Pasadena, be tried together in another proceeding.

Lawrence Leiben, 49, of Millersville, is to be tried in a third proceeding.

Deputy state's attorney Gerald K. Anders charged the Emorys and Mr. Dulany sold marijuana from one New York marijuana ring, and that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Bailey allegedly dealt in Mexican marijuana.

Mr. Leiben has given a statement to police implicating the others and is negotiating a plea agreement, Mr. Anders said.

Prosecutors dropped charges against Patricia Emory, the former principal of Severna Park Elementary School, who was arrested with her husband, James Mitchell Emory, during a raid at their home Oct. 29.

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