18 arrested as police break up alleged cocaine ring in Annapolis

March 04, 1998|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Federal and Anne Arundel County law enforcement officers arrested 18 people yesterday, breaking up an alleged drug ring that they said preyed on Annapolis public housing communities for more than 25 years.

Police say the alleged leaders of the group arrested long had been active in Friends of Black Annapolitans, a political group known for being frequent critics of the Annapolis Police Department.

The accused ringleader, Curtis Allen Spencer, 48, founder of the political group, and his two top Black Annapolitan officials are among five men arrested on federal charges of crack cocaine distribution. Thirteen others were arrested on similar state charges.

"He's had a stranglehold on this community for as long as anyone can remember," said Chief Joseph S. Johnson of the Police Department. "It took us eight months of intense work to find the structure of this group and enough information to identify Spencer at the top of the pyramid. We're all stunned at how sophisticated this guy was. He was slick."

Police say residents of the communities have lived in fear of Spencer and his lieutenants.

"Six or eight community block captains called me today to say they were elated to hear these guys were caught," Johnson said. "It was a difficult case."

Yesterday, police served state search warrants at 12 locations, including RPM Automotive in Parole Plaza, the Newtowne and Harbour House public housing communities and Spa Cove apartments. They also seized eight vehicles, three handguns, 6 ounces of crack cocaine and 1 ounce of marijuana.

In addition to Spencer, the four others arrested on federal charges yesterday are:

John David Lane, 41, Black Annapolitan treasurer, who listed the same address as Spencer in the 1100 block of Primrose Court in Annapolis.

Theodore Lee Brown, 44, Black Annapolitan president, of the 900 block of Windsor Ave. in Annapolis.

Harold Lovell Johnson, 33, of the 1100 block of Madison St. in Annapolis.

Kevin Ronald Adams, no age available, of the 500 block of Valleywood Drive in Millersville, who is in custody in the county detention center on unrelated charges.

The five men charged with federal crimes could serve from 10 years to life if convicted.

Pub Date: 3/04/98

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