2 expected to admit guilt in federal case Alleged dealer Jones, former officer McCrary to appear in court today

September 25, 1996|By Kate Shatzkin and Peter Hermann | Kate Shatzkin and Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A man authorities call one of the city's most elusive drug dealers and a former Baltimore police officer accused of being on his payroll are expected to plead guilty today to federal charges.

Anthony Ayeni Jones and the former officer, Erick McCrary, are scheduled to appear this morning before U.S. District Judge Andre M. Davis to enter the pleas an hour apart. Jones is expected to plead guilty to being a felon in possession of a handgun; McCrary has arranged to plead guilty to witness tampering, according to court papers.

Whether Jones receives the kind of sentence authorities have long hoped for remains to be seen. Attorneys in the case yesterday would not say whether a sentencing recommendation was part of the expected pleas. Jones and McCrary still face trial in Baltimore Circuit Court next month on several conspiracy charges.

Attorneys in the case confirmed the scheduled proceeding, but would not give details of the plea agreements. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Jordan said he could not comment on the hearing until it occurred.

McCrary's attorney, Jack Rubin, also declined to comment.

But a man who identified himself as McCrary, reached by phone yesterday at the Washington halfway house where he has been confined since his arrest, said he had no plans to plead guilty today. Asked what would happen at this morning's hearing, he answered: "I have no idea."

The man proclaimed his innocence and said he did not know Jones. He said he did not expect to serve any jail time, but added he does not expect to be a police officer again.

Rubin would not comment on whether the man could have been his client. Jones' attorney, Paul M. Polansky, did not return telephone calls.

Though authorities accuse Jones of being one of Baltimore's most ruthless drug dealers -- heavily armed to protect a $1 million-a-year cocaine and heroin trade from his home in the 1700 block of E. Oliver St. since he was in his teens -- he has consistently frustrated those who would see him punished.

Though Jones has been arrested repeatedly in the past five years, he has been convicted only once as an adult -- on a drug conspiracy charge for which he spent less than a year in prison, despite police boasts that they had enough evidence to put him away for "a century."

McCrary's alleged involvement with Jones touched off questioning of other Eastern District officers about whether others might have helped Jones avoid prosecution over the years. So far, no other officer has been charged with helping Jones.

The charge to which Jones, 23, is expected to plead guilty -- being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun -- started the events that prosecutors said ensnared McCrary.

Jones was arrested on the charge Feb. 19, after officers found a loaded Ruger 9 mm handgun next to the car Jones was trying to exit. But a court commissioner set him free on $7,500 bail, sparking a protest from the agent in charge of the Baltimore office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

According to a federal affidavit filed in April, Jones used McCrary to offer another officer who had arrested him on the gun charge $5,000 to forget about the weapon, and asked McCrary to falsely arrest a rival drug dealer and deliver him to Jones. McCrary also allegedly tried to retrieve $21,000 in cash that was in a secret compartment in one of Jones' vehicles that police had seized. McCrary, a seven-year veteran, resigned from the force after his arrest at his Northwest Baltimore home.

Jones and McCrary are to be tried on various state charges Oct. 15. A grand jury in July indicted Jones on charges of bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, in connection with the same events described in the federal affidavit. McCrary faces four counts of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth A. Ritter said yesterday that Jones and McCrary still are scheduled for trial in Circuit Court, despite the planned federal pleas.

The state charges carry maximum penalties of 12 years for bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery, 30 years for conspiracy to commit kidnapping and five years for conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice.

Pub Date: 9/25/96

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