Suspected Heroin Dealer Busted
OCEAN CITY -- A Salisbury man was arrested on heroin distribution and other charges last week during which the suspect was tased in order to be brought under control.
Last Wednesday, Ocean City police concluded an investigation into heroin distribution in the resort area with the arrest of Arnesto Lee Smith, 33, of Salisbury. Smith was arrested after a four-week undercover operation during which undercover narcotics detectives made several purchases of the illegal drug from the suspect.
Smith was arrested last Wednesday in the area of 45th Street. During the arrest, several OCPD officers were needed to subdue Smith, who was ultimately shot with an electronic control device (ECD), or tased, in order to be brought under control. At the time of his arrest, Smith was in possession of four bags of heroin, numerous Xanax pills and a quantity of money, all of which were seized as evidence.
Smith was charged with three counts of distribution of heroin, four counts of possession with intent to distribute, possession of Xanax with intent to distribute and resisting arrest. He was taken before a District Court Commission and was ordered to be held on a $75,000 bond before being transferred to the Worcester County Jail.
Balcony Fall Victim Identified
OCEAN CITY -- Ocean City Police this week are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding a fatal fall from a condominium balcony in the area of 36th Street last Tuesday and have made public the identity of the victim.
Around 3 a.m. last Tuesday, Ocean City Police responded to a 911 call for help at a condominium building on North Canal Street in reference to an individual who had apparently fallen from a third-floor balcony. OCPD officers arrived and located the deceased body of an adult female lying on the ground on the west, or bay side, of the St. Croix condominium building. The victim was identified late last week as Kelly G. Degracia, 41, of Santa Monica, Calif.
Ocean City Police detectives this week continue to investigate the circumstances. The deceased was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy, the results of which have not been released.
Last Tuesday’s early morning incident was the second reported fatal balcony fall in the resort this year. On May 9, a 26-year-old Dayton, Md. man fell from a balcony on the 14th floor of the Holiday Inn on the Boardwalk at 17th Street to the pool deck below around 4 p.m. in the afternoon. The victim was transported to Atlantic General Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
Speeding Stop Nets Drug Bust
BERLIN -- Two Annapolis residents were arrested on drug charges last weekend after getting pulled over for speeding on Route 50 near Berlin.
Around 2:40 p.m. last Saturday, a Maryland State Police trooper conducted a traffic stop on a 2007 Mazda sedan for exceeding the speed limit on Route 50 near Route 346 in Berlin. Upon making contact with the driver, the trooper detected the strong odor of burnt marijuana emanating from inside the vehicle.
A probable cause search revealed various controlled dangerous substances in the vehicle including marijuana and paraphernalia. The two occupants, Thomas Steiff, 31, and Stephanie Radvak, 29, both of Annapolis, were arrested and charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of paraphernalia. The suspects were taken before a District Court Commissioner and were released on their own recognizance pending court dates.
Cocaine Distribution Arrest
BERLIN -- A Berlin man was arrested on cocaine distribution charges last week after police officers observed him acting suspiciously in the area of the VFW hall.
Shortly before 11 p.m. last Saturday, members of the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team were in the area of the Berlin VFW on Showell Street when they observed an individual, later identified as Kasheem D. Purnell, 33, of Berlin, acting in a suspicious manner. According to police reports, Purnell acted suspiciously when he saw law enforcement officers and immediately walked behind a small cargo trailer parked on Showell Street.
A member of the Criminal Enforcement Team approached the trailer and discovered a clear plastic bag containing 22 individually wrapped bags of cocaine totaling roughly nine grams. Purnell then fled the scene on foot and was apprehended after a brief chase without further incident. Purnell was arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Purnell was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond. The Criminal Enforcement Team was assisted by the Berlin Police Department and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office patrol division.
Driver Who Struck House Fined
OCEAN CITY -- A Pennsylvania man arrested in April on drunk-driving and numerous other traffic charges after crashing his vehicle through an iron fence and striking a residence on Coastal Highway pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, all of which was suspended in favor of fines.
Around 7:30 p.m. on April 1, Ocean City Police responded to 90th Street and Coastal Highway for a reported vehicle collision. When officers arrived on the scene they observed a 2002 BMW had crashed through an iron fence and struck a residence.
The investigation revealed the driver, later identified as Charles Allen Fogel, 29, of Bethlehem, Pa., was traveling north on Coastal Highway when he attempted to turn south. During the turn, Fogel allegedly ran over the curb and struck a metal fence before striking the brick porch of a residence.
The force of the collision stopped the vehicle. Fogel, who was not injured in the accident, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired, negligent driving, failure to obey a traffic control device, making an improper turn and driving on a sidewalk among others. Last week, Fogel pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, all of which was suspended. He was then fined $250 for the driving while impaired charge and $97 for failing to control speed to avoid a collision.
12 Years For Distribution
SALISBURY -- A Salisbury man was sentenced to 12 years in prison last week after pleading guilty in federal court to cocaine distribution charges dating back to the summer of 2011.
Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Hollander sentenced Tereek Nutter, 29, of Salisbury, to 12 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine and cocaine base. In May and June 2011, law enforcement officials overheard phone conversations in which Nutter arranged for several purchases of up to a kilogram of cocaine at a time from a conspirator. Nutter agreed to pay up to $35,000 for each kilogram.
One June 29, 2011, law enforcement officials executed a search warrant at Nutter’s Salisbury residence and seized 1.8 grams of cocaine, 10.8 grams of cocaine base, a loaded, stolen firearm and $3,800. On Sept. 9, 2011, police officers arrested Nutter at another residence in Salisbury and seized over 300 grams of cocaine, a scale, a loaded firearm and $3,000. Nutter later admitted he and his conspirators distributed over five kilograms of cocaine along with a quantity of cocaine base.
Shoplifter Kicks Deputy
SALISBURY -- A Mardela Springs man was arrested on assault and other charges last week after allegedly causing a scene in the Wal-Mart in Salisbury when confronted about possible shoplifting.
Around 3:40 p.m. last Thursday, an off-duty Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputy was in the Wal-Mart on North Salisbury Blvd. when he was requested to assist with a shoplifting in progress. The deputy approached the suspect who had allegedly stolen a knife from Wal-Mart, later identified as Michael Conaway, 19, of Mardela Springs, in the store’s parking lot. The deputy recovered the stolen knife in Conaway’s pocket and also discovered marijuana in another pocket.
Conaway was arrested and handcuffed, but continued to scream expletives at the officer and those around the scene. When the officer attempted to restrain Conaway, the suspect kicked the deputy. Conaway was arrested and charged with second-degree assault, theft, disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana.