Police have linked two of four Washington-area men charged in a federal drug case to the shooting and stalking of a Maryland state trooper last year in Abingdon, which may have been retaliation for drug seizures by the officer or his brother, also a state trooper, according to a court document.
The wounded officer, Trooper Michael T. Hughes, was shot in the arm Aug. 27 during an apparent ambush near his home on Long Bar Harbor Road in Harford County. A man stepped from be- hind a tree and fired several times with a handgun.
Hughes suffered an arm wound in the shooting. Yesterday, Hughes said he could not comment on the case.
The investigation centers on four men arrested on drug charges April 30 to May 8 and being held without bond in separate jails in Northern Virginia, said Assistant U.S. Attorney James L. Trump.
Although the four have not been charged in the shooting, links between the cases came to light in an affidavit filed April 30 by Arlington Detective Thomas J. Wise and unsealed last week in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va.
According to that affidavit, an informant told investigators that one of the suspects -- Gregory McCorkle, 32, whose last known address was the 900 block of M St. N.W. in Washington -- offered him $5,000 to kill a Maryland trooper. The informant declined, the document said.
The affidavit also says the gunman may have mistaken Hughes for his brother, Trooper David Hughes, also a state trooper who once lived in the house.
According to the affidavit, David Hughes arrested McCorkle on Dec. 11, 1995, while McCorkle was driving a 1996 Nissan Ultima with temporary Virginia tags on Interstate 95 in Cecil County. Hughes seized 1 kilogram of alleged cocaine hidden in a bag under the driver's seat.
McCorkle said he bought the substance in New York and was delivering it to Washington, the affidavit said. He told police that if he gave additional information, "the Colombians" would kill him.
McCorkle was to go on trial in the drug case six days after Hughes was shot. The case since has been delayed.
The affidavit says McCorkle and another man charged in the drug conspiracy -- Sergio Barrios, whose last known address also was the 900 block of M St. N.W. in Washington -- told a police informant they had tried to use "home boys" -- local acquaintances -- in the shooting, but they had been too "loud and messy."
The affidavit also notes that the Hughes brothers had swapped patrol cars the night of the shooting. Michael Hughes' home also was burglarized before the shooting and after, police have said.
Also charged in the drug conspiracy that has become linked to the shooting investigation are James Abston, 29, of the 6300 block of Pioneer Drive in Springfield, Va.; and Brian Baldwin, 34, of the 900 block of M St. N.W. in Washington.
G. Allen Dale, Abston's attorney, said his client was not involved in the shooting and is "looking forward to his day in court." A court date on the drug charges has not been scheduled.
Lawyers for the other suspects could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Capt. Greg Shipley, a Maryland State Police spokesman, said investigators have been looking at the possibility that the shooter mistook Michael Hughes for his brother, and detectives are focusing on suspects the brothers arrested in the year before the shooting.
Pub Date: 5/22/97