Bail is set for defendants in drug case Former basketball coach accused of being kingpin

November 25, 1997|By Dail Willis and Jay Apperson | Dail Willis and Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

A Harford County judge set bail at $500,000 yesterday for Monroe C. Brown, a former Aberdeen High School and Pennsylvania State University basketball star accused of trafficking cocaine from New York to his hometown.

Brown, who was suspended from his job as an assistant college basketball coach last week after the charges were made public, bowed his head but said little during a brief hearing yesterday in Harford County Circuit Court. He was being held last night at the county detention center, where he spent the weekend after surrendering Friday.

Brown is one of 39 people named in indictments stemming from a six-month investigation into what police have described as a New York-to-Maryland drug network.

Brown and 29-year-old Aaron N. Mathis, a former classmate at Aberdeen High, are charged as kingpins in the case. Police said four weeks of wiretapped telephone calls recorded arrangements for sales and delivery of as much as a pound of cocaine a week.

Brown's mother gasped and began to cry as the 27-year-old former basketball star was led into the courtroom wearing a striped jailhouse shirt and shackles.

While awaiting the start of the hearing, Brown glanced several times at relatives seated in the last row of the small courtroom.

If convicted of the drug kingpin charge, Brown would receive a prison term of 40 years -- and a minimum sentence of 20 years with no chance for parole. He faces 17 drug-related charges.

Defense attorney David E. Carey told the judge that Brown should be given bail because he had returned willingly from New York to answer the charges and "clear his name."

The lawyer also noted Brown's extensive ties to the county and his lack of a criminal record.

Carey said little about the charges, but lawyers for three co-defendants also in court for bail reviews argued that authorities recovered no physical evidence during the lengthy investigation.

"Where's the dope? Where's the money?" asked Stuart L. Alison, lawyer for Antoine Johnson, Brown's cousin and one of the co-defendants.

Judge Maurice W. Baldwin Jr. set bail at $750,000 for Mathis and $100,000 for Johnson. He also set bail at $10,000 for Charles Bradford Mengel, an Edgewood man facing drug conspiracy charges in the case.

The judge said Brown would have to remain in Maryland as a condition of his bail.

Brown, a 1988 graduate of Aberdeen, went on to become Penn State's seventh leading all-time scorer. After college, he worked in Tennessee and in Baltimore briefly before returning to basketball as a coach at Penn State.

After two years there, he took an assistant coaching and recruiting job at Marist College, a small Catholic school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Pub Date: 11/25/97

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