City, Catonsville raids net drugs, 5 arrests


Baltimore & Region


Raids of homes in Baltimore and Catonsville, part of a three-month investigation into a drug ring, resulted in five arrests and confiscation of 245 pounds of marijuana, $180,000 in cash and three weapons, city police said yesterday.

Police said they seized the money from a home in Catonsville and the drugs - with an estimated street value of $735,000 - from a home near 25th Street and Maryland Avenue in Baltimore's Charles Village.

Lt. John Hess, a member of the department's organized crime division, said city police and other state and federal law enforcement members found that the drug ring's reach extended into the northwest, northern and eastern parts of the city.

Hess said investigators quickly identified the heads of the organization, including a man they believe was responsible for transporting the marijuana from Arizona to Baltimore and another man who distributed it in the area.

Yesterday, police displayed the contraband, which had been stored by the suspects in more than 20 plastic buckets and in sealed plastic bags, along with the money and guns.

Another $70,000 worth of property and assets were also seized by police. The raids occurred late Monday and yesterday, police said.

Authorities said they would not disclose the names of the suspects because some had not been charged and the investigation into the group was continuing.

Baltimore: Courts

2 admit trying to threaten witness

Two men pleaded guilty yesterday to threatening a murder witness in April 2004, the Baltimore City state's attorney office said. Erik Johnson, 32, and Juan Tucker, 29, made the threats in retaliation after the witness testified against Tucker, and the men tried to persuade the witness not to testify at a murder trial.

Johnson also pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree assault, use of a handgun and obstruction of justice, while Tucker pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and obstruction of justice, prosecutors said.

Circuit Judge John M. Glynn sentenced Johnson, of the 2200 block of Orleans St., to five years in prison without parole. Tucker, of the 700 block of W. Fayette St., was sentenced to seven years in prison with all but three years suspended, in addition to three years' probation.

Another man, 31-year- old David Rich of the 700 block of N. Woodington Road, received probation for taking the same witness to a bail review hearing for Tucker and trying to scare him into recanting his identification of Tucker, prosecutors said.

Justin Fenton

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