3 more indicted on drug charges Ring allegedly was run from family's business in Severna Park

Arrests began 3 years ago

Prosecutors have added to list of assets they want to seize

April 03, 1997|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

A federal grand jury has indicted three additional people on charges of cocaine distribution in connection with an Anne Arundel County drug ring, while prosecutors expanded the multimillion-dollar list of assets they want to seize from its alleged leaders.

Charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine in the indictments handed up Monday by a federal grand jury in Baltimore were:

Lori Lee Askins, 32, of the 900 block of Dogwood Tree Drive in Annapolis, said in the indictment to have conducted real estate and other financial transactions for the alleged drug ring to hide its assets and launder its profits.

David Wayne Griscom, 31, of the 400 block of Legion Road in Millington, Queen Anne's County, allegedly hired by members of the drug ring to kill a former member who had become an informant.

Sean Douglas Welsh, 36, of the 300 block of Norfolk St. in Severna Park, whose activities were not spelled out in the indictment beyond involvement in the alleged drug conspiracy.

Also named in the indictment were a Cape St. Claire man, John Vincent Baumgarten Sr., and his two sons, John Vincent Baumgarten Jr. and Anthony Quinn Baumgarten, who were charged last year.

The family allegedly ran the drug ring out of their Severna Park business, TJ's Barbershop in the 600 block of Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., where authorities say cocaine imported from Florida and Pennsylvania was sold.

Along with the indictment, federal prosecutors submitted an expanded list of the assets they plan to seize from the alleged ring members. These include $3.3 million, described as profits from the sale of 110 pounds of cocaine the ring allegedly imported from southern Florida and sold in Maryland between 1990 and 1996. The forfeiture list also seeks 10 properties, including three houses and a lot in Annapolis, a parcel with 10 lots in Cape St. Claire, the barbershop, a home in Pasadena and three buildings in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Prosecutors are also targeting a 1985 Velocity boat; seven Chevrolet Corvettes with models ranging from 1974 to 1991; a 1991 Ford Explorer; a 1988 Lincoln Continental limousine; two Cadillacs; a 1991 Harley Davidson motorcycle; and a vehicle described as a Ford T-bucket roadster.

Prosecutors had filed an earlier forfeiture action. "As they went through the records, they were able to discover more assets. That's not atypical in a case of this magnitude," said U.S. Attorney Lynne A. Battaglia.

According to the indictment, John Baumgarten Sr. was the leader and organizer of the drug ring, which he operated with his lieutenants, John Baumgarten Jr., Anthony Baumgarten and John Steven Luke. The ring, which also dealt in marijuana, distributed wholesale quantities of cocaine to others, who then distributed the drugs to street-level customers.

The alleged ring began to unravel three years ago, when police arrested James Nawrocki, a mechanic and alleged Baumgarten drug runner, who cooperated with investigators. One of the men indicted this week, Griscom, was allegedly offered $25,000 by John Baumgarten Jr., Anthony Baumgarten and Luke to kill Nawrocki.

According to testimony in federal court in February, John Baumgarten Jr. and Griscom drove to a garage on the Eastern Shore where Nawrocki was working and asked him to go for a ride with them.

Nawrocki said he had to make a telephone call and fled.

More arrests came last March, when Luke, who lived across the street from the Baumgartens most of his life, and Luke's brother-in-law, Joseph Cerniglia Jr., were arrested in a raid on their homes.

Luke implicated others in the ring in testimony he gave in February in federal court, saying he made dozens of drug runs from Florida and Philadelphia, and disclosing a botched attempt to kill a police informant. Luke and Cerniglia have pleaded guilty to drug charges and are under federal protection.

Police also raided the homes of Richard Terrence McArdle of Cape St. Claire and Jesus Ibarra Rodriguez of Brooklyn Park. McArdle pleaded guilty to the drug charges but is not cooperating with prosecutors. Rodriguez was found guilty of drug charges in February in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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