Listening intently to secret recordings of a suspected drug kingpin, jurors in a federal murder and racketeering trial yesterday heard how a city police officer conspired to kidnap the kingpin's chief rival so that he could be delivered to his execution.
The tapes of Anthony Ayeni Jones, accused of running one of the most murderous drug rings in Baltimore history, depict a man so obsessed with killing his enemies that he turned to the police for help. And in the person of Officer Erick McCrary, he got it.
"Erick would always say Anthony had a lot of money. He would say Anthony was the Bank of Maryland and the First National Bank combined into one," testified Baltimore Police Officer Duane A. Henry, a friend of McCrary's who later helped authorities convict him. Henry also went undercover and, wearing a hidden microphone, recorded conversations with Jones.
"Erick would call Anthony his 'Boy,' " Henry testified in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, where nine of Jones' suspected drug lieutenants are on trial before Judge William M. Nickerson. "One time he showed me a truck he said belonged to his Boy. It was totally decked out with a TV, VCR, games, and trap doors" to hide money and drugs.
Court documents unsealed yesterday show that McCrary, 31, a seven-year veteran who worked in the Eastern District, pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
McCrary, expected to testify for prosecutors in the two-month trial, was to have been paid $5,000 by Jones to "help locate
Elway Williams and then to stage an arrest and deliver Williams to Jones," according to McCrary's signed plea agreement. Williams ran a $15,000-a-day heroin ring in East Baltimore.
Wearing headphones supplied by prosecutors, jurors listened to tapes of Henry and Jones allegedly discussing arrangements to kidnap Williams from a medical clinic where Williams was being treated for gunshot wounds he suffered at the hands of Jones' suspected assassins.
Henry had gone undercover at the request of police and pretended to be disgruntled with the force, which he told Jones wasn't paying him enough money. The two men had been introduced by McCrary.
"I'm broke, man," Henry told Jones on March 20, 1996, in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven in the 2300 block of Orleans St. "Look at this man. I ain't got I got 50 cents to my name."
Jones retorted, "Ah, well, if you want, if you want it fast, I'll give you $2,500 Friday. I'll give you the other $2,500 the first, if you want it like that."
But in return for "throwing him five" -- Jones' slang for $5,000 -- Henry was expected to do Jones a favor, according to the transcripts of the tapes. He asked Henry to help him get into a police impound lot where officers had stowed a green Delta 88 automobile belonging to Jones that had been recently seized in a drug investigation, the transcripts showed.
Secret compartment in car
Hidden in the car, Jones is quoted as saying to Henry, was a secret compartment containing more than $20,000.
"I'm going to have to go [into the impound lot,]" Jones said. "Only I know how to open the thing. It's complicated to explain. I know they didn't find the money, 'cause they have to cut the car in half to get the money."
Henry pretended to go along with the scheme, not letting on that police had found the money by dismantling part of the car. The compartment had an intricate mechanism that would open the trap door only if specific actions were taken, such as turning on the radio, heater and other devices in the proper order.
Jones also asked Henry to help him get a gun charge against him dropped, the court transcripts said.
But the primary favor was the abduction of Williams, which according to the transcripts Jones had planned with McCrary. Williams was to have been taken from the medical clinic in handcuffs and brought before Jones.
"Erick told me he got an extra set" of handcuffs that would be used in the abduction, Jones told Henry in the tapes. "He said he got an unmarked set drop him off on Llewelyn and Chester."
Abduction didn't happen
McCrary was arrested soon after that conversation was recorded. The abduction of Williams, who pleaded guilty and is serving 24 to 30 years in federal prison, never occurred.
Prosecutors said Williams was one of the lucky ones. They said the Jones' ring has been linked to more than a dozen killings in the past eight years.
"What did you think Anthony Jones was going to do to Elway Williams when you delivered Williams to him in handcuffs?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert R. Harding asked Henry on the stand.
Henry replied softly, "Kill him."
Pub Date: 10/28/97