Howard County detectives ended a two-month drug investigation Tuesday afternoon, arresting four Baltimore men during a staged drug buy in which police say the suspects planned to rob an undercover officer.
The four were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, police say, because they did not bring 9 ounces of the drug they had promised to sell to an undercover agent at a home in the 3200 block of Normandy Woods Drive in Ellicott City.
"As far as we're concerned we were there to buy dope," said Lt. Jeffrey Spaulding, head of the Vice and Narcotics Division. "It appears they intended to run a scam on us or take our money by force."
Undercover officers established a relationship with one of the suspects over several weeks, police
say, buying nearly an ounce of cocaine.
That contact allowed undercover officers from the police department's Street Drug Unit to arrange an exchange of drugs for $6,500 cash and a sports car.
According to police, one of the men was supposed to meet the undercover officer in a taxi at 2 p.m. Tuesday, but arrived around 2:15 p.m. with three other men in an Acura.
The four men and the undercover officer talked awhile, and were ready to make a deal when
one of the men said he would go to the car to get the drugs, police said.
Police arrested the men minutes later. Police said no weapons were found in the car.
Three of the men were being held at the Howard County Detention Center after appearing at bond hearings yesterday.
Devon Barington Johnson, 21, of the 3800 block of Ferndale Ave., who also was charged with distribution and possession of cocaine in connection with previous dealings with undercover officers, was being held on $20,000 bond. His 1985 BMW also was seized, police said.
Jephet Ishamel Pitt, 19, of the 2300 block of Allendale Road was being held on $3,500 bond. Mr. Pitt also was wanted by the Baltimore City Sheriff's Office for violation of probation, police said.
Wayne Anthony Nelson, 24, of the 3800 block of Hayward Ave., was being held on $5,000 bond.
Timothy Charles McFarland, 22, of the 6600 block of Bonnie Ridge Drive was released on personal recognizance late Tuesday.