Severn man indicted by grand jury Prosecutor alleges cocaine operation at 'compound'

'A neighborhood menace'

6-month investigation by police followed neighbors' complaints

March 04, 1997|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A circuit judge set bail at $100,000 yesterday for a man, described as a "neighborhood menace," who allegedly held cockfights and sold cocaine 24 hours a day at his Severn home.

Oscar Mora, 44, of the 8200 block of W. B&A Blvd., was charged in a grand jury indictment unsealed yesterday with two counts of maintaining a common nuisance. Each count carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

Assistant State's Attorney M. Virginia Miles said Mora was charged after a six-month police investigation uncovered evidence of a cocaine operation so extensive that the lieutenants spelled each other in eight-hour shifts.

She said neighbors had complained to police since 1988 because of the heavy traffic each day to Mora's "compound," which included a house, a trailer and a shed.

"This literally went on day after day after day after day," Miles said.

She said police had raided "the compound" seven times since 1988 but that the raids had turned up insufficient evidence to prosecute Mora.

In September, county animal control officers confiscated 42 gamecocks from Mora's home and charged him with nuisance violations for illegal fighting of gamecocks. Those charges were dropped for lack of evidence.

Miles said no one would agree to testify for fear of retribution until police stepped up their investigation six months ago and developed sources within Mora's organization.

"From everything we've learned, he's a neighborhood menace," she said.

Mora, who was born in Cuba, said through his lawyer, Lloyd Clinton, that he is unable to speak English, and Clinton asked that the hearing be postponed until an interpreter could be provided.

Judge Elsbeth Bothe, a retired Baltimore circuit judge assigned to the case, was skeptical, noting that Mora has lived in the United States since at least 1988, has an English-speaking wife and daughter and talked with English-speaking police officers after his arrest.

"How in the world can he not speak English?" Bothe said.

Mora kept his eyes on the table in front of him during the exchange.

Detective Edward White of the Anne Arundel County police told Bothe that he talked with Mora about his family, his health and "how tired he was" after Mora was arrested at his home late Friday night.

"I would say he was able to understand everything that I was saying to him," White said.

Clinton said after the hearing that his client would spend at least one night in jail before he would be able to contact relatives to raise bail money.

Pub Date: 3/04/97

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