Authorities arrested seven people in Maryland and New Jersey on drug charges, breaking what they called an interstate cocaine ring and seizing palatial estates, drugs worth $2 million, weapons and cash, federal officials said yesterday.
The Drug Enforcement Administration reported recovering more than 2 kilograms of cocaine and marijuana, about $20,000 in cash, 15 handguns, two cars and two Maryland homes valued at $1.5 million during Thursday's arrest.
DEA officials charged that a network headed by Joseph Leo Baumgarten Jr., 46, of Chester had been selling cocaine by the kilogram in Baltimore and Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties for several years.
Officers searched Dehn Motors on East Patapsco Avenue -- a used car lot that police said served as Mr. Baumgarten's stash house -- and a home in the 1300 block of McHenry St. in Baltimore, a home in the 3900 block of Sadie Road in Randallstown and an Asbury, N.J., home.
They confiscated two houses in Chester and Sherwood, in Talbot County, which Mr. Baumgarten owned, said Sgt. Ronald Bateman, head of the Anne Arundel County division of DEA.
Charged in federal warrants with conspiracy, drug possession with intent to distribute and drug distribution are Mr. Baumgarten; William Peter Seaman, 43, of Asbury, N.J.; and John Leroy Long, 43, of the McHenry Street address. Anthony Biagio, 32, of Flushing, N.Y., was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. All are being held by federal authorities. Mr. Biagio and Mr. Seaman are being held in New Jersey.
Mr. Baumgarten's son, Joseph Baumgarten III, 22, of Chester was charged in a state warrant with drug possession with intent to distribute and is being held by state authorities. Two brothers are charged with drug possession, also in state warrants. Bail was set at $25,000 for Charles R. Plowman, 52, of the 700 block of 212th St., Pasadena; and at $15,000 for Ronald D. Plowman, 48, of the 700 block of 213th St., Pasadena.
DEA Task Force officers from the Anne Arundel County Police Department started the investigation in January 1992.
Maryland undercover agents reported meeting with a suspect Thursday in Asbury to complete a sale of 2 kilograms of cocaine. They arrested Mr. Seaman and Mr. Biagio and reported seizing a kilogram of cocaine at a home.
Police said they found the second kilogram when they arrested Mr. Baumgarten.