Police raid 'rave' party, arrest three men on cocaine charges

February 04, 1997|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,SUN STAFF

A contingent of city, state and military police Sunday raided the Paradox Club in the 1300 block of Russell St. where at least 600 people -- some as young as 14 -- were attending a "rave" party at which drugs and liquor were available, a Baltimore police official said yesterday.

During the 4: 15 p.m. raid, three men, accused of selling narcotics to undercover Baltimore police officers, were arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, said Maj. Kathleen T. Patek, commander of the Southern District. The other partygoers were allowed to leave.

Many military personnel were at the party, she said.

Raves usually are large gatherings of youths at buildings such as warehouses for all-night parties, where drugs are available.

"When the music was turned off by police, large quantities of drugs fell to the floor," Patek said.

The raid ended a lengthy investigation by city, state and military police of illegal activities at the South Baltimore building where the party was held. The probe was launched after authorities received complaints from residents and businesses about disorderly partygoers.

But a lawyer for the club took exception to the raid, saying authorities had no warrants and that the action was "discriminatory."

Frank Boston III, the lawyer, said, "You could go to any party in the city, such as Fells Point on a Friday or a Saturday night, and [if] the police did as they did in the Paradox by saying throw your drugs on the floor or you'll be arrested, I'm sure they would find just as many drugs as they found in this nightclub.

"I found it hard to believe that it took 18 months for a police investigation to result in the arrest of three kids for allegedly distributing small quantities of drugs," Boston said.

He said that the raid was "a pretext to eliminate one of the only legitimate black nightclubs left."

Pub Date: 2/04/97

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