Defense staffer pleads not guilty in drug case

April 18, 2002|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

A Defense Department employee with a high security clearance pleaded not guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court yesterday to a charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Irwin K. McQueen, 40, of the 7400 block of Digby Road in Gwynn Oak was arrested near the 2500 block of Hollins St. on Jan. 18 as he left a bar at Hollins Street and Franklintown Road, according to police reports.

Law enforcement sources close to the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said McQueen had a high security clearance and was responsible for conducting background checks of potential Defense Department employees.

Sources said authorities have no indication of a link between McQueen's arrest and his position at the Defense Department.

Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore state's attorney's office, said McQueen's arrest "came as a result of a joint investigation with law enforcement authorities known as Operation Safe Neighborhoods, which targets communities known for crimes associated with drugs and guns."

Operation Safe Neighborhoods was created in May 1998 in an effort to drastically reduce the city's number of homicides.

An August trial date was set for McQueen, who could face a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted. Efforts to reach McQueen, who was released on bail, or his lawyer, Stanley Needleman, were unsuccessful.

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