State Digest

STATE DIGEST

July 13, 2006

3 charged in attempt to smuggle heroin

Two inmates at the Western Correctional Institution and an Allegany County woman have been charged with trying to smuggle heroin into the prison, state police said.

Marlena Nazelrod, 28, of Rawlings and inmates Gary L. Sheppard, 28, of Mount Savage and Kelvin L. Drummond, 34, of Baltimore were charged Tuesday with a total of 69 counts.

A three-month investigation by the prison, the Cumberland Police department and the U.S. postal inspector's office uncovered the suspected plot, said Lt. James Pyles, area commander for the Maryland State Police Western Region Drug Enforcement Division.

Sheppard, who is serving a five-year term for failure to remain at the scene of an accident involving bodily injury or death, "orchestrated a drug-smuggling operation into the institution," Pyles said.

The suspected plot involved Nazelrod's receiving heroin by mail from people in the Baltimore area, and packaging the heroin and smuggling it into the prison during visiting hours, police said.. Authorities intercepted the heroin before it was taken into the institution, police said.

Associated Press

Westover

Ceremony to mark opening of prison building tomorrow

Maryland prison administrators have scheduled a ceremony for tomorrow to open a new building at the Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover that includes a 140-bed housing unit for minimum security inmates and space for addictions screening, classes for parents, career development and similar rehabilitation programs, officials said yesterday.

Mark Vernarelli, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said the new unit creates 13 jobs at ECI. The project also means 46 new jobs for ECI inmates, including sanitation details and road crews, the spokesman said. Inmates will start moving in Monday, he said.

Situated just south of Salisbury in Somerset County on the Lower Eastern Shore, ECI is Maryland's largest state prison with 3,170 inmates and 879 employees, Vernarelli said. The new building took 15 months to construct and cost $4 million, he said.

Greg Garland

Annapolis

Maryland Teachers Association endorses Hollinger for Congress

The Maryland State Teachers Association endorsed state Sen. Paula C. Hollinger, a Baltimore County Democrat, yesterday in her campaign for Congress.

Speaking in front of Annapolis Elementary School, MTSA President Patricia A. Foerster praised Hollinger's work on education issues as chairwoman of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs committee.

MTSA, with 65,000 members, is the Maryland affiliate of the National Education Association.

Hollinger is one of eight candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Maryland's 3rd District House seat, which is being vacated by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

Sumathi Reddy

Maryland

Two Democratic candidates endorse cigarette tax increases

Two of the three Democratic candidates for comptroller endorsed yesterday a plan to increase Maryland's cigarette tax $1 a pack to curb teen smoking and help provide health insurance for about 50,000 Marylanders.

Montgomery County Del. Peter Franchot and Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens endorsed the Healthy Maryland Initiative, a proposal backed by a coalition of health care advocates and religious groups.

Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative, said incumbent Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, who is seeking re-election, did not respond to calls seeking his support.

Michael Dresser

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