Ex-officer imprisoned for aiding drug dealer Judge imposes sentence of 21 months, citing harm to community

November 23, 1996|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF

A former Baltimore police officer was sentenced to nearly two years in prison yesterday for helping a man a prosecutor called "one of the most violent and feared criminals in Baltimore" pursue a lucrative drug trade while avoiding the law.

As Erick McCrary's family mourned his fall, Judge Andre M. Davis said the former officer could be shown no leniency for helping Anthony Ayeni Jones, who authorities say has avoided prosecution for years while running a ruthless Eastside drug gang.

McCrary, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to tamper with a witness, admitting that he offered another officer who had arrested Jones on a gun charge $5,000 to forget about the weapon. According to court documents detailing an investigation by city police and agents for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Jones also allegedly offered McCrary $10,000 to stage a fake arrest of a rival drug dealer, Ellway Williams, and deliver him to Jones.

Davis said he was sentencing McCrary to 21 months in prison -- the top of the sentencing guideline range -- because of "the damage that is done to the community's sense of justice. Police departments all over the state are injured in immeasurable ways when law enforcement officers aid and abet the bad guys."

Jones himself appeared later yesterday before Davis and received a three-year sentence -- his first in five years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie M. Bennett asked the judge to give McCrary a significant sentence. "He was helping someone who has brought violence and heartache to the citizens of Baltimore for years," she said. But McCrary's lawyer, Jack B. Rubin, called his client's crime a "one-time only" for which he felt great remorse.

Maryland State Police Trooper Terry Alston, a longtime friend of McCrary's who works out of the Centreville barracks, told the judge he was "disappointed and hurt" at McCrary's actions.

"He became a cop partially because of me," Alston said, his voice shaking with emotion. "My sense of integrity and my livelihood hinges on what I do." He said he would be "personally involved" in McCrary's rehabilitation.

In a brief statement, McCrary said he was sorry for putting his family through the ordeal of his conviction.

Jones and McCrary face trial in Baltimore Circuit Court in January on charges that they conspired to kidnap another drug dealer and to recover thousands of dollars stashed in a vehicle police seized from Jones.

Jones pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a handgun. The maximum sentence for the charge is 10 years; but with only the one conviction on his record, he qualified for no more than three years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

Though Jones, 23, has been arrested numerous times, he has only one conviction -- a guilty plea in 1991 to conspiracy to distribute drugs, for which he was sentenced to five years. He served only a year.

Since his release in 1992, Jones has been arrested but not convicted until now, though police say he operated a $1 million-a-year cocaine and heroin business on the city's east side.

No mention was made of that yesterday. Bennett said little to the judge about Jones' sentence, saying she recently inherited the case from another prosecutor and did not want to jeopardize any prior agreements.

Jones' lawyer, Paul M. Polansky, also said virtually nothing, saying he did not want to imperil his client's position in the pending state case.

To Jones, the judge said: "You are young enough to turn your life around, but no one, absolutely no one in the world, can do that but you."

Jones did not reply.

Pub Date: 11/23/96

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