Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY --

April 15, 1993

Cooke's charges reduced to misdemeanor count

Anne Arundel County prosecutors have reduced charges against state house lobbyist Ira Cooke from possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a felony, to simple possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.

Frank Weathersbee, county state's attorney, said in a prepared statement that the physical evidence seized in a raid April 6 on Mr. Cooke's hotel room appeared to his staff to suggest "nothing more than a garden variety possession case -- no more, no less."

Mr. Cooke, one of the top five money-making lobbyists in Maryland, turned himself in to Annapolis city police April 7.

Detectives who raided his suite on the sixth floor of Loews Annapolis Hotel the day before found 10.4 grams of marijuana in envelopes and other containers scattered around the room.

They charged him with possession of drugs, possession of paraphernalia and possession with intent to distribute drugs.

In a four-paragraph statement issued late Monday, Mr. Weathersbee insisted he does "not know Ira Cooke from a cookie jar" and argued that his staff "will not make more of a case than there is," nor will it "make more because of who the accused may or may not be."

Three face weapons charge

Three Chester men were arrested on weapons charges in Annapolis after city police officers found them sitting in a parking lot with a sawed-off shotgun early Monday, police said.

One of the men also was charged with possessing marijuana and a pipe.

City police said they noticed the men sitting on the tailgate of a Honda in front of the Salvation Army store off Tyler Avenue about 1:15 a.m.

William Thomas Manson, 20, Donald E. Farris, 19, and James Groh, 19, were charged with possessing a sawed-off shotgun. Mr. Groh also was charged with possessing drugs and paraphernalia.

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