City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

May 23, 2008

'Snitching' figure guilty of drug charges

A federal jury convicted yesterday on drug charges a West Baltimore man who was the cameraman for the notorious Stop Snitching DVD, which used threats of violence to intimidate potential witnesses from helping police or testifying in court, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office.

Akiba Matthews, 35, of Baltimore could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for distributing heroin and a maximum of 10 years in prison for gun possession, prosecutors said. He is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Aug. 7.

Since the video emerged in 2004 - and a sequel in December 2007 - law enforcement authorities have waged a campaign to counter its underlying theme, which police and prosecutors have said contributed to the violence on city streets.

"The Baltimore Stop Snitching DVD helped to produce an unprecedented era of law enforcement coordination that has brought a record-breaking reduction in violent crime," Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. "This demonstrates that the Stop Snitching campaign has failed in Baltimore because most citizens do not want drug dealers and violent criminals in their neighborhoods."

The video has also helped city prosecutors crack down on those who threaten and intimidate witnesses.

Prosecutors said Matthews was arrested Nov. 15 after an anonymous tip from a city resident, who complained to police that a man in a white van was selling drugs on Frederick Avenue.

Anne Arundel

Naval Academy

Graduation set for this morning

Annapolis police are urging drivers who are not headed to the Naval Academy's commissioning ceremony this morning to avoid the area surrounding Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Graduation will begin at 10 a.m., but traffic is expected to be heavy perhaps as early as 7 a.m.

Alternative approaches to Route 50 and Rowe Boulevard include Defense Highway, or General's Highway, West Street and Aris T. Allen Boulevard.

Motorists can also expect congestion, delays and brief road closures again at its conclusion, between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is scheduled to address the Class of 2008.

Glen Burnie

City woman killed crossing Route 2

A Baltimore woman was killed Wednesday night when she stepped into the path of oncoming traffic on a busy Glen Burnie street, Anne Arundel County police said yesterday.

Melessia Johnson, 47, of the 1200 block of Cherry Hill Road tried to cross southbound Route 2 near Arundel Corporation Road about 8:45 p.m. in an area not marked for pedestrians, police said. She was struck by a 1987 Plymouth Caravelle and died at the scene.

Police smelled alcohol on the driver's breath and had him submit to testing, the results of which were unavailable. No charges have been filed. They said the primary cause of the crash was pedestrian error.

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