From Tobacco Road to Drug Highway

January 26, 1995|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Sun Staff Writer

Interstate 95 was sometimes called Tobacco Road in years past as police and tax agents arrested smugglers hauling untaxed cigarettes from North Carolina to the Northeast. A more appropriate name now might be Drug Highway.

Once on Monday and three times Tuesday, Maryland state troopers stopping southbound cars for traffic offenses reported finding cocaine or heroin hidden in the vehicles.

Such discoveries have become common occurrences on I-95.

The biggest haul this week was more than 3 pounds of cocaine found in a hidden compartment behind the rear seat of a car that was clocked at 80.7 mph and stopped by Tfc. John Greene near Aberdeen Tuesday, police said.

"It's a significant number in that short a period of time," said Lt. Gregory M. Shipley, a state police spokesman.

Lieutenant Shipley said the drug seizures were interruptions of what has become "a steady stream of cocaine and other drugs" along I-95 -- the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway.

"You wonder, if they're stopping three loads in a day, how much is getting by," Lieutenant Shipley said.

Among the most recent cases:

* Tfc. John Appleby found a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of crack cocaine in an electronic compartment hidden in the rear armrest of a 1989 Oldsmobile Cutlass stopped for speeding near Havre de Grace Monday afternoon, police said.

Two suspects were arrested there, and two others Tuesday in an undercover operation involving the federal Drug Enforcement Administration at the alleged cocaine delivery point in a Burlington, N.C., hotel.

* At 12:39 p.m. Tuesday, Trooper Greene stopped a speeding 1986 Ford Taurus and arrested Odell Connelly, 26, of Brooklyn, N.Y., on cocaine charges.

The shipment was going to Norfolk, Va., where troopers and DEA agents arrested another man that night.

* Shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Tfc. James Nolan stopped a 1983 BMW 733i for speeding at 75 mph near Edgewood.

A police dog helped police find 1,500 packets of heroin in the car, and the driver, Reginald D. Myers, of Winston-Salem, N.C., was held on drug-smuggling charges, authorities said.

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