Two state workers face drug charges in Jessup 3-month probe leads to SHA office

August 04, 1993|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Staff Writer

State police yesterday arrested two State Highway Administration employees as part of a three-month investigation into drug distribution at an SHA office in Jessup, police said.

The arrests may be part of a larger operation in the area, policsaid.

Officers have so far confiscated about $17,000 in cocaine through undercover purchases and seizure, according to 1st Sgt. Greg Shipley, state police spokesman.

Arrested were Benjamin L. Rent II, 37, of the 3800 block of Perry Hall Road, Perry Hall; and Kevin J. Young, 27, of the 12000 block of Beltsville Drive in Beltsville.

A Howard County court commissioner released each man on $10,000 unsecured bond.

Both are employed as engineering technicians with SHA, working in construction and design jobs, and each has certified training in the field as well, according to SHA Deputy Administrator Elizabeth Homer. She said the two worked from a small project office on Corridor Road in Jessup.

"We're disheartened that something like this happened," said Mrs. Homer. "We're a very large employer, and you get a lot of people who pass through -- and some of them get into things they shouldn't."

Mrs. Homer said SHA will review the information provided yesterday by police before conducting its own investigation. The two men will be suspended without pay today and could ultimately lose their jobs, she said.

State police arrested the men at the Waterloo Barracks about 2 p.m. yesterday on warrants obtained after an earlier raid at Mr. Rent's Baltimore County home.

Mr. Rent is charged with three counts each of distribution of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Mr. Young is charged with one count each of distribution of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession cocaine and conspiracy to distribute the cocaine.

Undercover officers say they purchased 7 1/2 ounces of cocaine at the Corridor Road office, police said. In a raid of Mr. Rent's home on June 22, police said they seized a half-ounce of cocaine, 13 handguns, 3 rifles, $4,700 in cash and a 1984 Volkswagen Jetta.

Officers said they could not release other details yesterday because the investigation is continuing.

Members of the Frederick County Narcotics Task Force and the Maryland State Police Drug Enforcement Division said they began investigating the case after learning about cocaine distribution in the Jessup area.

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