A Carroll County grand jury indicted a Hampstead police officer yesterday on misdemeanor charges of possessing drugs and paraphernalia stemming from a state police raid on his Roberts Field home last month.
Paul Nicholas Steimetz, a member of the Hampstead force for five years, also was indicted on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, providing alcohol to minors and maintaining a common nuisance.
The charges carry a maximum fine of $45,000 and up to 15 years in prison.
Officer Steimetz, who lives in the 4300 block of Downhill Trail, was suspended from the force with pay after state police drug enforcement officials raided his home Aug. 18.
"Under the police officer's bill of rights, if an officer is charged with a felony, he may be suspended without pay," said Hampstead Police Chief Kenneth Russell, adding that a hearing is scheduled for next week.
At that time, the officer probably will be told he is suspended without pay, because maintaining a common nuisance is a felony charge, Chief Russell said.
In the Aug. 18 raid, officers found marijuana, seeds, cocaine and other paraphernalia in a secret hiding place in the house, said Chief Russell.
Chief Russell said drug enforcement officers opened an investigation when Officer Steimetz's neighbors complained in May that a large group of teen-agers had brought beer into the house while the officer was working.
After the officer met with neighbors, the youths stayed away from the home for about a month, Chief Russell said. Later, the parties began again, he said.
Officer Steimetz could not be reached for comment.