22 charged after police get 'lucky' during Mexico-to-Howard drug probe

March 14, 1995|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Sun Staff Writer

Howard County police have charged 22 people who they say were responsible for putting 50 pounds of drugs a month into the Baltimore-Washington area.

Residents of Howard County, Baltimore, Anne Arundel County and Montgomery County were arrested after a two-year investigation that police say tracked drugs from Mexico to California and then to Howard County.

Police say they expect more arrests.

"This case was particularly significant," said Lt. Jeffrey Spaulding, head of the Vice and Narcotics Division. "We were able to identify several layers of the distribution chain. We usually don't. We were lucky."

Police said the investigation started with undercover officers purchasing drugs on the streets in February 1993. At that time, the focus was on an apartment on Rowanberry Drive in Elkridge.

By November 1994, police had put wiretaps on some of the suspects' homes.

A month later, Howard County narcotics detectives served nine search-and-seizure warrants: five in Howard County, two in Baltimore County, two in Montgomery County.

Detectives confiscated 18 pounds of marijuana valued at $52,000, small amounts of cocaine and LSD, packaging materials and $30,000 in cash. No arrests were made then, police said.

On March 2, a Howard County grand jury indicted the 22 people, who were arrested Thursday and Friday, police said.

Police said 16 of the 22 arrests were in Howard County. The 50 pounds of drugs police say they helped sell on streets in the Baltimore-Washington area is worth at least $144,000 monthly, Lieutenant Spaulding said.

In 1994, the county saw a 39 percent increase in drug violations and a 53 percent increase in arrests for those crimes, according to Howard County police statistics.

Lieutenant Spaulding attributed a lot of that success to 39 rookie officers who graduated in December 1993. "They were very aggressive," he said. "They were out on the streets making lots of arrests. Now we're getting higher-level dealers and a lot of underlings."

Police said the 22 people arrested were mostly low-level street dealers.

* Charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana are: Robert L. Sexton, 37; Jamie R. Macklin, 23; John David Maiello, 26; Herbert M. Birch; 25; and Brian L. Geuder, 26, all of Columbia; David H. Silberfeld, 26; David C. Rather, 27; and Joseph A. Petenelli, 28, all of Baltimore; John A. McDonald, 27, and William R. Irwin, both of Ellicott City; and Jeffrey L. Suter, 31, of Severn.

* Charged with conspiracy to possess marijuana are: Sean D. Gerrity, 25, and Mark E. Zetlmeisl, 29, both of Columbia; Shane T. Cahall, 22, and Jack W. Simons, 43, both of Elkridge; and Thomas K. Moran, 34, of Odenton.

* Charged with conspiracy to possess marijuana and possession of marijuana are: Michael C. Barnard, 30, and Harriet B. Barnard, 29, both of Ellicott City; and William J. Middleton, 27, of Columbia.

* Charged with conspiracy to violate narcotics laws are: Michael T. Farasy, 24, of Burtonsville and Patrick M. Middleton, 25, of Columbia.

* Timothy R. Simons, 23, of Elkridge was charged with conspiracy to violate narcotics laws, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of marijuana.

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