Suspect Tries To Swallow Bag Of Heroin

August 06, 2009|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,richard.irwin@baltsun.com

A 41-year-old West Baltimore man was listed in critical condition at the University of Maryland Medical Center after he attempted to swallow a plastic bag containing at least 17 gel caps of heroin while being pursued Monday evening by police, according to a Police Department spokesman.

Anthony Guglielmi, the spokesman, said Dion Snipe of the 1100 block of W. Lombard St. was observed in possession of narcotics in the first block of N. Carrollton Ave. about 6:30 p.m. Monday by plainclothes officers assigned to a drug enforcement unit. He said when the officers approached Snipe to arrest him and seize the drugs, Snipe ran into a nearby dwelling, where the officers found him sitting at the top of a flight of stairs.

While police searched for the bag and the drugs, Snipe began to choke and gasp for air, the spokesman said.

Guglielmi said the officers suspected Snipe had attempted to swallow the bag and that one of them performed the Heimlich maneuver to remove the plastic drug-filled bag from Snipe's trachea, while an ambulance was summoned. The plastic bag was removed from Snipe's throat and he was taken to the hospital.

Guglielmi said that since the incident, Snipe has been in a medically induced coma and was not expected to survive.

He said members of Snipe's family claim he was beaten by police during the incident and that an internal investigation was under way to determine if Snipe suffered any injuries during the arrest. Witnesses to the arrest were to be interviewed. He said the officers, whom he declined to name, remain on duty.

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