Crime Watch


November 07, 2006

Vandals damage cars parked in Catonsville Senior Center lot

Several travelers could receive an unpleasant surprise when they return from a Catonsville Senior Center-sponsored trip to Ireland - their tires have been slashed and their cars damaged by fire.

Shortly before midnight Saturday, police at the Wilkens Precinct received a call about a fire on a parking lot shared by the senior center and Catonsville Community Park, a police spokesman said yesterday.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in the Maryland section yesterday about a drug-trafficking case incorrectly reported the amount of cocaine that federal prosecutors said was sold by an organization. The amount was 500 grams.

Officers discovered that vandals had slashed the tires of six vehicles and set fire to one. The officers removed the burned car, but scorch marks could be seen on the asphalt yesterday. The heat generated by the burning vehicle caused the molding and door handles of two cars parked next to it to melt and warp. The sides of the cars were charred and buckled.

The cars had been left in the lot last week when their owners left for a tour of Ireland, said Marie Dix, assistant director of the senior center. The travelers are scheduled to return tomorrow.

"It's an awful thing to come back to," she said. "I'm sure that we're going to recommend that they don't leave their cars here in the future."

Julie Scharper

Dentist is guilty in drug case

A Prince George's County dentist pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to conspiracy to distribute drugs and selling cocaine from his office.

Derek Curtis, 63, of Seabrook admitted in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt that he wrote prescriptions for the drug commonly known as Percocet for people who didn't need the pain reliever for dental treatment. His attorney, Daniel Stiller, said Curtis himself suffered from a longtime addiction to Percocet and funded his drug habit largely with his illegal activities.

Curtis retired from practicing dentistry two years ago, Stiller said.

According to prosecutors, Curtis wrote prescriptions to people who then filled the prescriptions and returned the drugs to Curtis. For eight years ending in 2004, Curtis wrote prescriptions for more than 26,290 pills containing oxycodone that had nothing to do with his dental practice, authorities said.

Curtis also sold cocaine in 2004 to an undercover police informant, but his arrest was delayed after Curtis left the country for Jamaica, according to court papers and his attorney. He was charged again when he returned to the United States, Stiller said.

When sentenced Feb. 5, Curtis could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by three years of probation and a $2 million fine.

Matthew Dolan

11 charged in drug conspiracy

Eleven people in four states, including Maryland, have been charged in a large-scale drug conspiracy, according to an indictment unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

The single-count indictment charges that the drug-dealing organization sold more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and 500 kilograms of cocaine between 2001 and September of this year. The arrests included seven people from Western Maryland.

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $1 million, including two homes. Several homes were searched as part of the investigation, including a Williamsport campsite.

Matthew Dolan

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