2 city workers charged with possession of heroin

January 21, 1995|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore police arrested two city workers on drug charges yesterday after a supervisor caught them as they were about to inject suspected heroin while working, police and city officials said.

The arrests come two days after a top Baltimore police commander met with city department heads to teach them how to notice employees high on drugs and encourage them to report their suspicions.

Yesterday morning, as Col. Ronald L. Daniel got into his office about 8:15 a.m., his phone rang with a tip from someone at the Department of Recreation and Parks. The colonel said the tipster reported seizing a syringe and suspected heroin from two workers at a maintenance yard at Clifton Park in Northeast Baltimore.

Detectives drove to the site and arrested James Reid, 37, of the 3100 block of Glendale Ave., a building repair worker with 19 years of experience, and Anthony Atkins, 32, whose address was not available, a laborer for the city for eight years. Each was charged with possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Two weeks ago, city police arrested three other Department of Recreation and Parks employees after watching workers buy cocaine and marijuana from a city truck near Lafayette Market.

Yesterday's arrest brings the number of city workers arrested on drug or gun charges to six since December, when the police department launched an investigation into the work force amid anonymous reports that employees were buying and selling drugs on the job.

The undercover police operation follows an agreement between the city and unions representing workers last fall that permits employee drug testing if reasonable suspicion exists.

Since Jan. 1, when the city began random drug testing of all workers who hold commercial driver's licenses, two out of 18 tested had positive results. Since Oct. 1, 38 employees who were suspected of using drugs also have been tested, with 20 coming up positive.

Those who tested positive are referred to a drug program and could be dismissed if drugs are found in their system again.

Rick Preski, a spokesman for the Department of Recreation and Parks, said both employees have been suspended and further disciplinary action is possible.

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