Man pleads guilty to conspiring to distribute marijuana Lawyer says Arnold client is not part of drug ring

December 21, 1997|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Arnold man described by county prosecutors as a low-level dealer in a family-run drug empire pleaded guilty Friday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to conspiring to distribute marijuana.

Auto mechanic Patrick Evans, 34, of the 800 block of Barrett Ave. dealt drugs supplied through what has become known as the Baumgarten drug ring, prosecutor M. Virginia Miles told Judge Ronald A. Silkworth. The men accused in federal charges of heading the operation are John Baumgarten Sr. and his sons John Jr. and Anthony Quinn Baumgarten, all of Cape St. Claire.

But Evans' lawyer disputed that his client was part of a big drug-running operation.

"He totally denies that he was part of any criminal conspiracy," said T. Joseph Touhey. He said Evans got drugs for himself and friends.

Evans faced three drug charges, but prosecutors expect to drop the other two when Evans is sentenced Feb. 20. The maximum penalty is five years in prison.

Miles said Evans bought drugs through Sean D. Welsh of Severna Park, who was sentenced Dec. 11 to three years of probation for drug distribution. But in 1995, "he wanted to cut out the middleman. He didn't want to pay the markup," she said.

He then bought directly from John S. Luke of Cape St. Claire, who has confessed he was a lieutenant in a drug ring operated from a Cape St. Claire house and Severna Park barbershop. Luke has pleaded guilty to federal drug charges and became a federally protected witness. He has testified or is supposed to testify against other people alleged to have been part of the drug business, including the Baumgartens.

Miles said Luke and Evans contacted each other by pagers and in brief telephone calls to arrange drug deals between October 1995 and May 1996, with Evans buying a pound of marijuana every two or three weeks.

Wiretaps of Luke's phone recorded five deals between the two, including one in which drugs were called "Girl Scout cookies," and police watched three meetings between the men, Miles said.

"He's small potatoes," Touhey said outside the courtroom. "He used to buy from Luke. When Luke, singing like a magpie, has to implicate someone, he names Evans. [Evans] is just on the periphery of this."

The Baumgartens are being held without bail, awaiting trial in April in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Pub Date: 12/21/97

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