Police acted on tip in cocaine seizure

Man, 32, is charged

city officers confiscate drugs from apartment

February 15, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

Troy Kevin Turnage lived quietly just off Route 100 in Columbia until Baltimore police got a tip that he might be involved in criminal activity.

A four-week Baltimore police investigation culminated Wednesday night in Turn- age's arrest and the seizure of about $1 million worth of crack cocaine from his two-bedroom apartment in a sleepy rental community called Orchard Crossing.

Turnage, 32, paid his rent on time and never disturbed neighbors, said property manager Beth Centifonti, whose eyebrows shot up when she learned police confiscated 3.2 kilograms of crack from the apartment.

"We had no problems with him whatsoever," Centifonti said. Turnage's lease began in October 2000, and he lived alone in his unit in the 4800 block of Circling Hunter Drive, she said.

Although they did not know him personally, several neighbors said they knew Turnage drove a 1994 Mercedes-Benz. Police said they seized the car Wednesday night, along with a 9 mm Smith & Wesson semiautomatic handgun, drug-packaging materials and $9,000 in cash.

"He was the target of the investigation," Baltimore police Officer Troy Harris said. "That amount of drugs indicates he was a serious dealer. This was a big arrest."

Turnage is being held at the city's Central Booking and Intake Center on $500,000 bond.

Centifonti said that Turnage, having been arrested on drug charges, will be evicted from his apartment.

Until Wednesday's charges, Turnage had no court record as an adult in Maryland.

He listed his employment as an "event manager" and "fingerprinter" with "Camp Spring Village," Centifonti said. There is no phone listing for a Camp Spring Village.

Turnage's credit report was "perfect," she said, reading from his apartment file.

City police received a tip - they would not elaborate further - about possible drug dealing and set up surveillance on Turnage as part of Operation Crackup, a police initiative to arrest distributors in West Baltimore, Harris said.

Detectives tracked Turnage in his 1992 Acura Legend to Mountwood Road in Southwest Baltimore, where, about 5 p.m. Wednesday, they observed him dealing drugs, police said.

Police said they found about 11 ounces of crack and $2,241 on Turnage when they arrested him and executed a search-and-seizure warrant on his Columbia apartment after he was arrested.

Since the investigation and arrest originated in Baltimore, Howard County police will not be involved in the case, police said.

Charges against Turnage include possession with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm for the purpose of drug trafficking and three other drug-related counts.

A preliminary hearing on the charges is scheduled for March 14.

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