Block raid arrests to resume

January 17, 1994|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,Staff Writer

Arrests stemming from Friday night's massive police raid of Baltimore's nightclub strip known as The Block will resume today as state troopers search for more than 50 patrons and employees suspected of selling or possessing drugs.

The raiding party of some 500 troopers closed most of the show bars in the adult entertainment section along and adjacent to the 300 and 400 blocks of E. Baltimore St. They arrested 52 people on drug and illegal handgun charges; seized cash, guns, drugs, video machines and business records; and confiscated liquor licenses at 24 nightclubs.

Lt. Gregory M. Shipley, a state police spokesman, said troopers will be checking homes and workplaces today in search of those named in unserved arrest warrants.

"It won't be nearly as concentrated an effort as Friday night. We won't be bringing in bus loads of people," Mr. Shipley said, adding that the arrests may take days or even weeks to complete.

Meanwhile, The Block was quiet yesterday as many bars and nightclubs usually open on Sundays remained closed.

Only a few people were out in the frigid weather in the afternoon.

A Block old-timer who gave his name as Polock Whitey ("I don't give my real name to nobody," he said) stood on the sidewalk bundled in a Chicago Bulls jacket trying to assess the impact of the raid.

The 58-year-old former bouncer, who said he had worked on The Block for more than 40 years, said he had just returned from Mexico when he heard about the Friday-night arrests. "I want to see what this is all about since they made the raid," he said.

Across the street at Crazy John's, business was slow as Polish sausages and hot dogs rotated on the grill. Business at the restaurant is usually "a lot more steady," said an eight-year employee, identifying herself only as Susan.

Several video stores, which were not raided Friday night, remained open.

At the Gayety Show World -- the video store's motto is "Your pleasure is our business" -- a lighted sign in the back showed the way to private video booths. A man at the front counter, who declined to give his name, said business was slow only because of the cold weather.

"We're in no competition with them," he said, referring to the darkened nightclubs.

Yesterday, neither city nor state police spokesmen could say exactly where those arrested were in custody or how many had been released since the raid.

Lieutenant Shipley said most of those arrested Friday night and early Saturday were turned over to city police, and referred an inquiry on their status to the Police Department.

But Agent Doug Price, a Baltimore police spokesman, said he had no list of those arrested. He said he could not find out where they were held since the department had little involvement in the raid that took place just a block from its headquarters.

"If the Maryland State Police can marshal forces of 500 troopers to invade and occupy a single city block, they can certainly manage dissemination of information appertaining to the collateral issues of arrests, charging and confinement for those individuals identified with criminal activity that beckoned state intervention on such a grand scale," said Agent Price.

"Fewer than 20 city police officers participated in the raid which for all intents and purposes was exclusively a Maryland State Police operation," he said.

The raid, said state police Friday, was the culmination of a four-month investigation.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer -- who toured a few of the raided nightclubs and bars Friday night -- worked out an agreement last year with city officials offering state police assistance on municipal crime problems.

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