Money launderer pleads guilty she bought sports car with cash BALTIMORE COUNTY

March 26, 1993|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

A 34-year-old nursing technician pleaded guilty yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court to laundering money for a drug ring when she paid cash for a $26,450 Dodge Stealth sports car with a stick shift she didn't know how to use.

As part of a plea bargain with the Maryland attorney general and dTC U.S. attorney, Joann Drennon agreed to testify in a drug trial set to begin Monday in federal court, according to Assistant Attorney General Christopher J. Romano.

Ms. Drennon, of the 3700 block of Fieldstone Road in Randallstown, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she is sentenced after her testimony in the federal drug case.

In return for serving as a front woman, Ms. Drennon received $800 cash from one of the alleged members of the drug ring, money that she used to fix the roof of her townhouse, Mr. Romano told Judge J. Norris Byrnes.

"Eight hundred dollars, Ms. Drennon, and look where you are," Judge Byrnes commented.

According to the agreed-upon statement of facts, Lamont Curtis Allen picked out a 1991 Dodge Stealth at Heritage Dodge and then had Ms. Drennon purchase the vehicle on May 30, 1991.

Mr. Allen is scheduled to go on trial in U.S. District Court on Monday.

As part of the deal, she paid $9,500 in cash on that day and a similar amount on May 31 -- trying to avoid the currency-transaction report that businesses must file when customers pay $10,000 or more in cash, the prosecutor said.

The car dealer filed a form with the IRS, anyway, Mr. Romano said. The cash, packaged in rolls of $1,000, allegedly came from heroin and cocaine trafficking.

In the ensuing months, Mr. Allen had Ms. Drennon trade the Stealth for a $26,500 Toyota Landcruiser and then trade the Landcruiser for a $31,000 Acura Legend. Each time, Ms. Drennon made up the difference in cash, prosectors said.

Mr. Allen, 26, who has addresses in Baltimore City and Baltimore County, was one of eight suspects Willia charged in May with running an interstate heroin ring from the Underground nightclub in West Baltimore.

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