2 plead guilty to drug-kingpin charges, get 20-year sentences

January 31, 2004|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

Two men pleaded guilty yesterday to drug-kingpin charges in Baltimore Circuit Court and were sentenced to mandatory 20-year sentences.

Clayton "Lurch" White, 30, of the 5300 block of King Arthur Circle in Rossville and Howard "Panama" Peppers Jr., 36, of Suitland each pleaded guilty to one count of being a drug kingpin and were sentenced by Judge John N. Prevas. The men must serve the 20 years without the possibility of parole.

Evidence against the two was obtained through wiretap investigations by a unit in the city state's attorney's office and included city, Baltimore County and federal investigators.

Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy said the joint investigation proved invaluable in bringing down major drug leaders.

"This unit is doing exactly what it is designed to do, to get those individuals who are running violent drug organizations off the streets for as long as possible," Jessamy said. "Both of these individuals pleaded guilty to kingpin charges ... which is a wonderful message to send to them and to send to the community - that we're very serious about this."

Authorities say a 2002 wiretap investigation revealed that White was leading a drug operation in Canton, Dundalk and Highlandtown that involved the sale and distribution of cocaine, oxycodone and marijuana.

Officials also said that in separate wiretap investigations in 2002 and last year, it was determined that Peppers was running a drug operation that supplied cocaine in East Baltimore.

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