Pot parties for teens are alleged Father is indicted on several charges of giving drugs to youth

Son, 11, died in crash

Police probe showed boy had traces of marijuana in system

August 19, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Four months after his 11-year-old son died, possibly drunk and stoned in a car driven by a teen-ager with alcohol in his blood, an Anne Arundel County father has been indicted on charges of supplying alcohol and drugs to his children's friends and acquaintances.

Edward Earl Cordova Sr., 47, of the 7900 block of McNeilin Way in Severn threw "large parties reminiscent of a Cheech and Chong movie in which everyone would sit around in a circle" and get high, Assistant State's Attorney M. Virginia Miles said after the 29-count indictment was unsealed yesterday. Cordova supplied teen-agers with prescription painkillers, alcohol and marijuana, the indictment alleged.

After his son's funeral, Miles said, mourners at the Cordova house sent a shotgun blast of marijuana skyward as a symbolic puff for the dead child. Before the car crash, paramedics went to the house at least three times to respond to teen-agers overdosing on grain alcohol.

Miles told an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge that Cordova "loved the company of teen-agers," quickly learned that offering his home as a haven for drug and alcohol use would guarantee a youthful crowd, and that he joined his children and their friends in getting high.

Judge Joseph P. Manck refused to set bond for Cordova and remanded him to the county jail. "Mr. Cordova is a severe threat to one of our most precious commodities -- that's our own children," Manck said.

Cordova's lawyer, James D. Green, disputed many of Miles' allegations, calling them a prosecutors' attempt to revive three drug-related charges that lapsed this month in District Court with a media event. But the new charges are far more serious, following Cordova through three addresses in Odenton, Gambrills and Severn from October 1997 through last month.

Police had lodged the earlier charges in June, after an investigation into Cordova that started when his son, Edward Eric Cordova, died in an April 26 car accident on Crownsville's Chesterfield Road at what is commonly called "Dead Man's Curve" or "End of the World." Prosecutors said the car had left Cordova's house.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the driver, Gregory Dwayne Bostic, 19, of the 2500 block of Davidsonville Road in Gambrills, and Edward Eric Cordova had traces of alcohol in their blood, and that the 11-year-old also had traces of marijuana in his blood. No charges have been filed. Police have not finished that investigation.

At the time, Cordova said he knew nothing about his son smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol and could not believe police accounts.

But reports of the accident unleashed a flood of telephone calls to police, from teen-agers who said Cordova's house was known as a place for liquor and drug parties, and from adults who noted unusual traffic in and out of his house, according to police and prosecutors.

The District Court charges expired as prosecutors were preparing to bring the allegations before a grand jury.

After prosecutors let the charges lapse, Cordova complained that the arrest had damaged his credibility.

"My reputation, my integrity has been violated by the news media and I can't repair it," he said then. "People won't talk to me. People won't have anything to do with me anymore."

Miles, however, said he celebrated with a huge drug party.

Yesterday, Cordova said nothing in court beyond acknowledging that he understood the charges. His attorney described him as a disabled veteran taking prescription drugs for knee ailments, and who suffered from a "longtime drinking problem."

At the time of the accident, Cordova was divorced and had custody of his son and 14-year-old daughter, who described in letters police confiscated from the home "how cool it was that her father allowed her to smoke marijuana and smoked it with her," Miles said. The girl, whose 18-year-old boyfriend also lived with them, was removed from the house by the Department of Social Services.

Most of the new charges are felonies. They include eight counts of giving his prescription drugs to his daughter's boyfriend and other teen-agers, six counts of distribution of marijuana, six counts of maintaining a drug house as a common nuisance, two counts of using minors to distribute drugs and two counts of threatening teen-agers who were likely to be called to testify at a preliminary hearing.

If convicted of all charges, the maximum prison time is "more time than he would live," said State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee.

Miles said Cordova threatened suicide last weekend and threatened others, telling people he had a Glock 9-mm weapon.

"He is a very lonely man," she said.

Pub Date: 8/19/98

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