Police seize guns, drugs, boat at car wash in N.W. Baltimore

Investigators call business a front for drug dealers

August 11, 2010|By Peter Hermann and Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore police described a Reisterstown Road car wash Wednesday as a front for drug dealers after they raided the business. A department spokesman said police seized more than two pounds of cocaine, weapons and a 24-foot powerboat from the business.

Authorities said a "brick" of cocaine and $4,000 in cash were found in a hidden compartment of an office end table that could be opened only by placing two magnets on top. Police said they found five handguns, a MAC-11 assault pistol and a shotgun elsewhere in the car wash.

Police also took at least five vehicles and the boat, which spokesman Anthony Guglielmi described as a 2010 model that had been purchased with cash. Police said they might turn the case over to federal authorities for prosecution and begin asset forfeiture proceedings to keep the vehicles.

Four people, including the owner of Celebrities Car Wash in the 6600 block of Reisterstown Road near a shopping plaza, were arrested and charged with drug offenses. The case was investigated by the Violent Crime Impact Division, whose officers have taken 500 illegal guns and $8 million in drugs off city streets this year.

Police said tips from residents prompted detectives to place the business under surveillance. About 2 p.m. Tuesday, undercover detectives who were watching the car wash reported seeing two men exchange drugs for money.

Officers followed one of the men as he drove off and stopped him in the 1000 block of E. Preston St. A statement from police said an officer saw suspected cocaine in the vehicle's door and arrested the driver, identified as Shawn Conley, 40, of the 2300 block of Golden Green Court in Gwynn Oak.

The statement says that police found 3.5 grams of powder cocaine in the driver's side door and another 100 grams of cocaine in the center console. Using that information, police said, they obtained a search warrant for the car wash, which they raided about 7 p.m.

At the car wash, police arrested two other suspects and a man described by police as either the business owner or manager. They identified him as Lloyd Green, 43, of the 7900 block of Chipper Road, also in Gwynn Oak.

Green, Conley and the other two suspects were charged with drug distribution and are being held without bail.

peter.hermann@baltsun.com



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