State police records on traffic-stop interdictions and seizures show that troopers in Harford County are leading Maryland's war on drugs, authorities said last week.
Troopers in Harford County have made 20 of the 37 statewide drug arrests during the third-quarter of 1994, the records show.
The state police statistics include incidents in which at least 10 pounds of marijuana, 1 pound of pure cocaine, 28 grams of crack cocaine, any amount of heroin, or more than $1,000 is seized.
In compiling the statistics, Maryland police officials used criteria from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), which tracks drug arrests nationwide.
The January-to-September 1994 EPIC statistics for Harford County show seizures of more than 174 pounds of marijuana, more than 34 pounds of cocaine, nearly 14 pounds of crack cocaine and $457,142 in cash allegedly connected to drug activities.
Nearly all the seizures of drugs and cash in Harford County were on Interstate 95, the link between New York suppliers and buyers from Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and points south.
State police said that they arrested 422 drug suspects in July, August and September during traffic stops, compared with 382 in the same period of 1993.
Drug seizures in the same third-quarter period increased by 290 percent, they said.
Drug and drug money seizures often are the byproducts of traffic stops to enforce speed laws. State police statistics show that citations for speeding are up 18 percent since Aug. 1.
The EPIC statistics show that a 1994 focus on I-95 south has yielded less money seizures but more drugs. Police have seized about $200,000 less this year than in 1993, when troopers focused on northbound traffic.
Drug trafficking patterns generally show that money is transported north for the purchase of drugs in New York and that the drugs move south, the EPIC report said.
One of the 1993 interdictions netted $38,120 for the state's general fund based on a decision by Judge Maurice W. Baldwin in Harford Circuit Court Tuesday.
Judge Baldwin ordered the forfeiture to the state by a convicted 37-year-old Danville, Va., drug dealer who was arrested in a routine speeding stop on I-95 near Havre de Grace on May 18, 1993.
The drug dealer, Carroll Dodson, was driving north and claimed he was headed to New York to buy dresses for Lillie Bagley, a small-business owner in Danville, when Cpl. John Appleby of the John F. Kennedy barracks stopped Dodson's 1993 Volvo.
Robert Price, a passenger in Dodson's car, told the trooper that he and Dodson were going to Philadelphia to visit relatives.
The trooper became suspicious and called for a Havre de Grace K-9 unit to scan the Volvo for drugs while he radioed for a "wants and warrants" check on the driver.
The K-9 dog indicated narcotics were in the car. The trooper said he found a marijuana cigarette butt under the Volvo's front seat and a Fila shoe box on the back seat containing $38,120, most of which was wrapped in $1,000 bundles.
Corporal Appleby said he seized the money because it was "in close proximity" to drugs and was packaged in a manner "consistent with the way drug dealers wrap it for quick and convenient counting when making a drug transaction."
Mrs. Bagley produced documents that she said proved the money was hers.
Assistant Attorney General Leo W. Ottey Jr., who prosecuted the forfeiture case, said Mrs. Bagley's so-called proof was worthless.
In cross-examining the woman, Mr. Ottey convinced Judge Baldwin that Mrs. Bagley had no receipts to show that any dresses were purchased and could not name one New York distributor where the dresses allegedly were purchased.
Danville police officers also testified that Dodson was a notorious drug dealer in Virginia. They said he had the keys to a house, called "The Fortress" because of its steel-door fortification, where drugs were sold through a peephole.
The Danville police also said Dodson was in prison for a September conviction on cocaine distribution charges involving a kilogram -- 2 1/2 pounds -- of 92 percent pure cocaine in a Fila shoe box they seized when they arrested him.
In releasing the arrest statistics, Michael McKelvin, a state police spokesman, cited a 1993 case involving $71,000 seized in a drug interdiction.
He said the state lost the case in court and was ordered to return the seized money. But about two weeks later in Prince George's County, the defendant in that case was arrested after he tried to buy 50 kilograms of cocaine from an undercover agent.
The man had more than $400,000 in a paper bag and eventually admitted during plea bargaining that the state's $71,000 also was drug money, Mr. McKelvin said.