39 cocaine indictments break up alleged Harford ring, police say Aberdeen High graduate, now college coach in N.Y.,is among the suspects

November 21, 1997|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

Thirty-nine people were indicted yesterday in what police called the breakup of a cocaine network run by two men who went to Aberdeen High School a decade ago, one a basketball star who now is a college coach.

Also part of the alleged network are several men who knew each other through sports at area high schools, police said.

The indictments charged the two former Aberdeen High students as kingpins. They are Aaron N. Mathis, 29, of the 100 block of Laburnum Road, Edgewood; and Monroe Charles Brown, 27, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., said Harford County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Edward Hopkins.

Brown, an assistant basketball coach at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, was one of the top all-time scorers at Penn State, where he was a point guard before graduating in 1992.

Hopkins said Brown is suspected of shipping drugs to a friend in Harford County.

Police said that at one point about a pound of cocaine a week was shipped to Harford County for distribution. The rest of the people charged in the indictments were users or users who also sold part of the weekly shipments of cocaine to Harford County, Hopkins said.

Most of the people named in the indictments are from Harford County, he said, with a few from Baltimore and Anne Arundel -- "the Route 40 corridor," he said.

Brown, reached by telephone at Marist by The Sun, denied involvement in the alleged drug ring and said he had not been served with any warrants.

"I don't know anything about it. What's going on down there? They've got the wrong person," Brown said.

Mathis was in the Harford County Detention Center last night.

Hopkins said the indictments were issued in August after months of undercover work, but officers didn't begin serving warrants until yesterday. Police said that four wiretaps run during April and May yielded thousands of hours of conversation that led to the indictments.

Because the indictments were based on conversations monitored by police, rather than actual sales activity, police said that nearly everyone indicted was charged with conspiracy to sell or distribute cocaine.

Two of the people indicted face firearms charges. Officers from the Harford County Sheriff's Office, the Maryland State Police and the police departments of Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace spent most of the day serving warrants.

By day's end, they had served about 23 of the people named in the indictment, police said.

Pub Date: 11/21/97

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