DEA official criticizes low bail set in gun, assault case Agent says the suspect is a drug felon on parole

March 01, 1996|By Kate Shatzkin and Scott Higham | Kate Shatzkin and Scott Higham,SUN STAFF

One of Baltimore's top law enforcement officers is criticizing a city court commissioner for setting low bail for a "well-known drug trafficker" charged with assault and handgun violations.

Anthony Ayeni Jones, 22, was arrested in the 1600 block of Rutland Ave. in East Baltimore Feb. 19 after his girlfriend told police he had punched her, according to a police report. He was charged with assault, battery, concealing a deadly weapon and illegal possession of a pistol after officers found a loaded Ruger 9 mm handgun around the car Mr. Jones was trying to exit.

Court records show Mr. Jones was released after posting $7,500 bail.

Robert J. Penland, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Baltimore office, said yesterday he was furious when he learned that Mr. Jones had been released on such low bail.

He described Mr. Jones as a "well-known drug trafficker."

"We're doing the investigations. We're collecting the evidence to convict people," Mr. Penland said. "The courts and law enforcement have to be in sync. Releasing someone like this -- who is a convicted drug felon, who is currently on parole, who has no business having a gun -- is a danger to the citizens of this community."

Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier told his officers recently that getting guns off the street and punishing those who have them illegally is a top priority. Mr. Frazier did not return a call about the case yesterday.

"If the priority is to get guns off the street, it's a very low bail," said Baltimore police Officer Gary McLhinney, head of the city police union, who said he was not familiar with the facts of the case.

Judge Robert F. Sweeney, administrative judge of the District Court of Maryland, said yesterday that he had received no formal complaints about the handling of the case.

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