Admitted dealer testifies on alleged ring

April 09, 1993|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

Roger and James Emory were partners in a drug ring that dates back 20 years and at one point sold as much as 2,000 pounds of marijuana within 16 months, a key prosecution witness testified yesterday.

For hours, Lawrence C. Leiben, a co-defendant of the Emory brothers who pleaded guilty to lesser charges, traced the origins of the alleged marijuana ring to Texas and explained initials and numbers on tally sheets.

He testified in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court that James Emory, 47, was the head of the ring and described Roger Emory, 43, as someone who took care of "loose ends" when Philip Dulany, another co-defendant who pleaded guilty to lesser charges, was unavailable.

The Emorys are charged under drug kingpin laws and could face 40 years in prison if convicted.

In matter-of-fact tones, Leiben described James' supplier and told the jurors how Dulany drove to New York to pick up the marijuana.

"Phil worked for James, and Roger and James were partners," he testified. "They invested money in marijuana together."

Defense attorneys dredged up Leiben's convictions in the early 1970s on weapons and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in an effort to discredit him. They hammered at his plea agreement with prosecutors and claimed he had received favors for his testimony.

"You would do anything to get out of jail," Peter S. O'Neill, James' lawyer, said sarcastically. "You got out of jail because [prosecutor Gerald K. Anders] got you out."

Mr. O'Neill said prosecutors persuaded police to return Leiben's Porsche and triple-beam scale after he agreed to testify for them.

Much of Leiben's testimony supported police testimony that the Emorys were seen at Leiben's garage carrying boxes in and out in May.

Leiben described being paid $5,000 for storing marijuana in his garage and spraying it with rum to kill the mold.

He never looked directly at the defendants as he showed the jury tally sheets with James Emory's initials, which he said verified his payments to Mr. Emory. He had a receipt that showed a $17,000 payment to Roger on Oct. 11, 1992, and a $13,700 payment to James on Oct. 22, 1992.

When the Emory brothers were arrested Oct. 29, police seized $17,158 from Roger's home and $12,580 in a briefcase under James and Patricia Emory's bed.

The brothers stared coldly at Leiben as he started his testimony.

James "told me his father put some money up and they went to Texas and made a connection," Leiben said.

For the next 10 years, Leiben said he bought small amounts of marijuana from James, broke it into smaller packages and resold it.

He said at one point he stopped dealing with James after they had a falling-out over payments, but they settled their differences in June 1991.

The Emorys delivered marijuana to his engraving shop at 17 St. Agnes Road in Glen Burnie, Leiben said.

"Usually I would pay [James], but occasionally Roger," he said. "As they were able to acquire more, I got more. I more or less built it up and eventually I probably ended up doing 30 pounds a month."

He said from June 1991 until his arrest in October, he received between 15 and 20 deliveries.

He said he met James at his home in the 1200 block of Villa Isle Court, Pasadena, once or twice a week to discuss payments and order more marijuana.

He said Dulany and Roger Emory sometimes were present during those meetings.

At one point, he said, James wanted to fire Dulany because Dulany was late meeting his connections in New York.

Leiben, who pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine, faces a maximum sentence of 25 years.

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