Howard police seize $250,000 in illegal drugs in Ellicott City Suspected explosives, weapons also found

January 01, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Dealing what they say is a severe blow to the local drug trade, Howard County police seized $250,000 in illegal drugs as well as firearms and what might be explosive devices from a home in Ellicott City yesterday.

Police said they charged two men living in the house with several counts of possession and manufacturing of drugs. The drug seizure was one of the biggest in recent memory, they said.

"This is a sizable coup," said Lt. Timothy Branning, commander of the department's vice and narcotics division. "Quite frankly, if the marijuana had hit the streets, it probably would've reached the hands of many people."

The drugs included 30 pounds of marijuana, 96 marijuana plants, 100 doses of mescaline -- a hallucinogenic drug -- and a small amount of LSD.

Police also seized three rifles, three semiautomatic handguns and 161 devices suspected of being clandestinely manufactured explosives.

Sgt. Steven Keller, a police spokesman, described one of the suspected explosives as a dynamite stick with wax on both ends and a fuse running through it.

The suspected explosives were turned over to the state fire marshal's office for further investigation.

Police arrested two of the house's three tenants.

Sean Michael DeBolt, 26, was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and mescaline, manufacturing marijuana, conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and possession of marijuana.

Donald Monroe Mitchell, 36, was charged with conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, possession with intent to manufacture marijuana, and possession of marijuana.

Police are looking for the third tenant, whom they declined to identify. Branning said the duplex owner is not a suspect.

Police said narcotics detectives served a search-and-seizure warrant about 8 a.m. yesterday in the 10300 block of Tuscany Road in Ellicott City.

Branning said detectives had received a tip several months ago and maintained surveillance on the duplex.

When the detectives searched the basement, they found a door that had a curiously large deadbolt lock and a heavy-duty padlock, Branning said.

"That's more than you would put on a laundry room door," he said.

When police knocked down the door, they said they found 96 plants, dozens of heating lamps and several bags of soil nutrients.

Branning said each plant yields about a pound of marijuana, which has a street value between $1,000 and $1,500.

"That would put a lot of marijuana on the streets," Branning said.

Six 5-pound bricks of marijuana were shipped from Riverside, Calif., Branning said.

Also seized were several manuals on how to grow marijuana, marijuana pipes and other drug paraphernalia in the house.

The duplex is owned by Gary Moore, 40, who said he has lived in the adjoining home for 15 years.

Moore said he has known the third tenant since they grew up in Oella.

Moore said DeBolt, a plumber, and Mitchell, who delivered produce, "kept to themselves."

"They never caused any problems," Moore said. "If you needed a hand with something, they would help."

Pub Date: 1/01/98

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