Teen's drug case moved to adult court system

May 29, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

A former Bel Air High School student who was arrested last month on charges of twice selling LSD to an undercover #F policeman just before his 18th birthday on Feb. 14 lost his bid in Circuit Court last week to keep his case in the juvenile court system.

Abel Martin Cruzado of the 700 block of Cagney Court had been detained at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County since his arrest April 26.

Mr. Cruzado was suspended from Bel Air High School the same day and subsequently "was withdrawn by the school," said county schools spokesman Donald R. Morrison.

Immediately after Judge Cypert O. Whitfill waived jurisdiction Monday, which allowed the state to prosecute Mr. Cruzado as an adult, the judge set bail at $10,000.

Mr. Cruzado was held at the Harford County Detention Center until he posted bond hours later, a Detention Center spokesman said.

John S. Karas, Mr. Cruzado's attorney, said comments during the hearing about selling drugs to classmates probably swayed Judge Whitfill to grant the waiver to move the youth to the adult justice system.

An undercover member of the Harford County Joint Narcotics Task Force testified at the hearing that he bought 100 doses of LSD, a hallucinogenic drug, from Mr. Cruzado or his intermediary Jan. 12 and Feb. 10. He said he paid $400 for the first purchase and $350 for the second.

In the first instance, a sheriff's spokesman said, the LSD was in the shape of an orange sun, a form known on the street as "orange sunshine."

In the second purchase, he said, the LSD looked like its street name, "Felix the Cat."

Mr. Cruzado turned age 18 four days after the second alleged sale to undercover agents.

The undercover deputy said Mr. Cruzado had boasted that he could provide 1,000 or more doses for sale, so the undercover investigators tried to set up a larger buy. But they said their repeated attempts to contact him on his pager were unsuccessful.

Mr. Karas told Judge Whitfill that Mr. Cruzado's difficulties with the law began when the boy's father, Dr. Abel S. Cruzado, moved to Wisconsin and then to Kansas.

The lawyer said that the father was able to keep his son under control, and that he wanted the judge to allow the son to go to Kansas with his father rather than be transferred to the adult court system.

Vernon Gentile, as assistant state's attorney prosecuting the case, reminded Judge Whitfill that the court must look at five criteria: the age of the defendant, his mental and physical condition, his amenability to treatment, the nature of the offense and public safety.

Judge Whitfill acknowledged the concern and support of the Cruzado family members who were in the courtroom.

But he told the youth that, despite counsel after being placed on probation for theft and malicious destruction charges, he had not gotten the message about law-abiding behavior.

The judge said he was concerned because investigators had reported that some of the alleged drug sales were to schoolchildren.

After Judge Whitfill granted the waiver to adult court and set bail, family members began weeping. One said loudly, "It's not fair."

Judge Whitfill said, "I heard that comment about being unfair. It's that kind of negative attitude that creates a situation like this."

Dr. Cruzado quickly stood at the back of the courtroom, and Judge Whitfill slammed his hand down and glared at the doctor.

After Judge Whitfill left the courtroom, another person, apparently a friend or relative of Mr. Cruzado, directed comments to Mr. Gentile, saying he was causing the breakup of a good family.

The prosecutor threatened to have the man locked up if he

didn't leave the courtroom immediately.

The Cruzado family members left without further incident.

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