STOCKTON – The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office this week recovered and seized as many as 79 marijuana plants in a rural area of the south end of the county near Stockton after discovering the plants through aerial surveillance.
On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office in cooperation with the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office conducted a marijuana eradication investigation in the Stockton area. The investigation was initiated after a vast number of marijuana plants were discovered growing in the area through aerial surveillance. During the investigation on the ground, 79 marijuana plants were recovered and seized within a one-mile radius.
According to police reports, one healthy and mature marijuana plant can produce one pound of pot suitable for smoking or a street value of approximately $4,600. With 79 plants seized, the total street value of the marijuana recovered during the investigation comes to more than $360,000, although the price varies tremendously based on the potency and quality of the marijuana.
During the course of the investigation, detectives have been able to identify a suspect although no one has been taken into custody. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding the discovery and/or any suspicious drug activity is encouraged to contact the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Enforcement Team.
Dumped Beer On Police Bikes
OCEAN CITY – A Greenfield, Md. man was arrested on malicious destruction of property charges last week after allegedly dumping beer on police bicycles and an officer’s equipment bag.
Around 4:30 a.m. last Sunday, OCPD officers made a routine traffic stop at 16th Street and St. Louis Ave. and discovered the occupants had open beers in the vehicle. While the officers were issuing citations, one of the occupants, later identified as Gabriel J. McFarland, 24, of Greenfield, Md. became verbally combative and abusive to the officers, stating several times he intended to make the officers’ jobs more difficult.
The officers then instructed the occupants of the vehicles to dump out their open beers. McFarland quickly volunteered for the project and began to empty the cans of beer. Police advised McFarland to dump the beer near the curb and away from their bicycles, but the suspect continued to dump beer in close proximity to the bikes, causing it to splash on them.
When one of the officers told McFarland to stop, he poured beer on the street in front of the officer causing it to splash on the officer’s shoes. According to police reports, McFarland opened another can of beer and proceeded to pour it on a bicycle bag belonging to one of the officers and roughly six inches away from one of the bikes. He reportedly continued his actions as he emptied four more cans of beer.
McFarland then sat down on the curb, laughed and told police “you guys are a joke,” and “I just poured beers all over your bikes.” He was ultimately arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property.
Jail Time For Pot Dealer
SNOW HILL – An Ocean City man arrested on drug distribution charges in January after being targeted by a two-month investigation by resort police pleaded guilty last week in Circuit Court to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but four months and 10 days suspended.
On Jan. 3, a two-month undercover investigation by OCPD narcotics detectives resulted in the arrest of Cory B. Greenhalgh, 24, of Ocean City. The two-month investigation ended when the Ocean City Police Department Narcotics Unit, with the assistance of the Quick Response Team (QRT), executed a search and seizure warrant at the Parrot Lagoon townhouses on Philadelphia Ave. near 4th Street.
During the search, resort police arrested Greenhalgh who was identified as a significant dealer during the two-month investigation. The OCPD seized over one pound of marijuana with a street value of around $4,600. They also seized over $1,500 in currency along with a Marlin 12-gauge shotgun.
Greenhalgh was charged with five counts of distribution of marijuana, one count of possession of marijuana and one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Last week in Circuit Court, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with all but four months and 10 days suspended. He was also placed on probation for two years and fined $500.
Scam Warning Issued
BERLIN – The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office this week issued a warning about phony letters circulating in the area informing residents they are winners of large sums of money in a sweepstakes.
The sheriff’s office has obtained information a suspect or suspects is sending out a letter notifying people they are the winners of a large sum of money. The letter asks recipients to send money in order to release the winnings from Canada. According to the sheriff’s office, the letter looks official and is accompanied by a check, but the check is not valid and cannot be cashed.
According to the sheriff’s office, the letter is a scam and legitimate companies do not ask people to send them money in order to qualify for larger winnings. Anyone who has received such a letter is urged to call the sheriff’s office or their local law enforcement agency.
Boardwalk Beatdown Probation
SNOW HILL — A Hyattsville, Md. man arrested on assault and disorderly conduct charges in April following an incident on the Boardwalk during which a merchant was badly beaten received three years of probation and was ordered to pay nearly $4,400 in restitution to the victim last week in District Court.
Shortly before 1 a.m. on April 27, OCPD officers responded to a large fight in progress at the corner of North Division Street and the Boardwalk. One of the officers arriving on the scene heard over the radio large groups were fighting down the Boardwalk in the direction of 1st Street. When the officer drove up 1st Street toward the Boardwalk, he observed a suspect, later identified as Zachary V. Byrd, 23, of Hyattsville, fighting with an individual later identified as David Lougasi, who was bleeding profusely from the face.
A large group of individuals had gathered around and were attempting to break up the fight when the officer arrived. In the meantime, a crowd of about 30 people had gathered on the Boardwalk to watch the incident. The officer got Zachary Byrd off Lougasi and began to sort out what was going on. A short time later, Robert E. Byrd, 28, of Charlottesville, Va. came up to the scene.
OCPD officers interviewed the badly beaten Lougasi, who told them Robert Byrd had stolen a bag of Salvia Divinorum, a powerful psycho-active herb valued at $45 from his Cool Topics store. Lougasi said he followed Byrd and his entourage to Photo Magic on the Boardwalk where he confronted them about the stolen merchandize. Lougasi told police both Robert and Zachary Byrd then punched him several times in the face during a fight, which spilled over onto the Boardwalk.
Once the fight escalated outside Photo Magic, Lougasi was knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly in the face. Nonetheless, Lougasi got up and pursued Robert and Zachary Byrd and the rest of their group down the Boardwalk to 1st Street, which is where police first encountered the fight still in progress. Other officers interviewed witnesses, who all corroborated the Boardwalk merchant’s account of the events.
Lougasi was taken to Atlantic General Hospital by Ocean City EMS where he was treated for multiple serious injuries. Lougasi had three upper front teeth knocked out during the altercation, two of which were recovered by EMS. He also had four lower teeth loosened and sustained gum damage. Lougasi also advised his ribs on both sides were injured as was his right hand.
Robert Byrd and Zachary Byrd were both arrested and charged with second-degree assault and disorderly conduct. In June, Robert Byrd was found not guilty of the charges. Last Thursday, Zachary Byrd was granted probation before judgment and was placed on probation for three years. He was also ordered to pay over $4,392 in restitution to the victim.
Fake Security Guard Case Moves To Circuit Court
OCEAN CITY – Robert Louis Coston III, 27, of Snow Hill, appeared in District Court this week to face a preliminary hearing for a case involving a variety of charges stemming from a June incident in which Coston entered a motel room and pretended to be a security guard.
Officer Earl Campbell of the Ocean City Police Department testified this week that on June 19, OCPD officers responded to the Seabonnay Motel on 27th Street for a reported burglary of a motel room. Upon arrival, police interviewed a witness who told them that a man crouched next to her bed awakened her while she was sleeping and claimed to be a security guard investigating the smell of marijuana coming from her room.
The victim fled the room and contacted motel management who assured her Coston did not work for the motel. Although nothing was initially noticed as missing from the room, the victim later realized that her friend’s cell phone was gone.
A description of Coston, who was wearing a white tank-top and jeans at the time of the incident, was broadcast and he was picked up a short time later sitting in a car near 12th Street and Wilmington Lane.
Officer Campbell testified that Coston was not cooperative with police, giving a false name to the officers. After verifying that the name was not accurate, Coston supplied officers with another name, which was also proven to be false. The manager of the hotel eventually identified Coston as a former employee. Coston was also identified by the victim as the man who entered her room.
A search of Coston revealed his driver’s license, as well as five individually wrapped bags of crack cocaine. When presented with the cocaine, Coston reportedly laughed, claiming that the drugs were not real. Officer Campbell was able to perform a test on a small amount of the cocaine on scene, which came back positive.
Coston was then placed under arrest and charged with first, third and fourth degree burglary, theft less than $500, possession of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute and possession of paraphernalia.
After hearing the testimony of the officer as well as arguments from the defense, Judge Daniel Mumford found probable cause to forward the case to Circuit Court.
Armed Robbery Case Goes To Circuit Court
OCEAN CITY – Two Coatesville, Pa. men appeared in District Court this week to face charges of armed robbery in a preliminary hearing regarding an incident outside a midtown fast food restaurant in early June.
Officer Likeke Arlington testified that on June 19, at approximately 4:21 a.m., police responded to the McDonald’s on 32nd Street for a reported fight in progress. Upon arrival, Arlington met with the victim, who briefly described the events that led to the armed robbery.
According to witness reports, the incident began when a verbal altercation broke out between the defendant, Anthony W. Shaw, 20, who was in a vehicle in the drive-thru, and a group walking by. Shaw reportedly got out of the car, and head butted the victim in the face. It was at that time that the second defendant, Zachary C. Swisher, 19, joined the altercation.
According to witness testimony, Swisher was asleep in the car at the time, but was awoken by the driver and told to bring Shaw back to the car and away from the fight. Swisher allegedly joined the brawl however, eventually ripping a gold necklace off the neck of the victim and taking it with him. It was also reported that Shaw threatened the victim with a piece of cinder block. The two eventually fled the scene.
Police apprehended the pair a short time later on 78th Street, where the victim positively identified them. A search of Shaw revealed the piece of cinder block and a search of the vehicle eventually revealed the gold necklace.
Attorneys for the defendants argued that there was no proof that the defendants intended to steal from or harm the victim, however Judge Daniel Mumford found probable cause to forward the case to Circuit Court saying, “it sounds like a tag-team robbery to me.”
BERLIN – No injuries were reported during an accident on Route 50 near its intersection with Route 589 last week after one vehicle failed to stop for stalled traffic and collided with the car in front of it, which in turn ran into the back of the car in front of it.
A little before 11 a.m. last Tuesday, a Maryland State Police trooper responded to a reported accident on Route 50 near Route 589. The investigation revealed a 2005 Buick Park Avenue driven by Earnest Johnson, 68, of Pasadena, Md., was traveling eastbound on Route 50 when it came to a stop behind backed-up traffic. The second vehicle, a 2007 Dodge Dakota driven by Charles Althar, 63, of Alexandria, Va., came to a complete stop behind the Buick, but a third vehicle, a 2001 GMC Yukon driven by Katie Smith, 30, of Upperco, Md., failed to stop and ran into the back of the Dodge Dakota, forcing it into the back of the Buick Park Avenue.
No injuries were reported although traffic backed up while the vehicles involved were removed from the travel lanes.
Domestic Dispute Yields Guilty Sentence
OCEAN CITY – Daniel Jeremy Diehl, 56, of York, Pa., pleaded not guilty with an agreed statement of facts to second degree assault this week, after being involved in a domestic dispute with his wife earlier this year.
According to police reports, on May 22, Ocean City police were called to a residence at approximately 10:54 p.m. Upon arrival, the victim stated that Diehl had gone out for the evening and that she had not anticipated his return so she locked the doors. A short time later, the victim awoke to knocking and yelling from Diehl. After letting him in, Diehl continued to yell at her for locking the door, grabbing her upper arms and squeezing and shaking her, at which point the victim ran downstairs and called police.
Diehl’s attorney explained in District Court this week that Diehl and the victim are currently going through a divorce and are no longer in contact with one another.
Diehl was found guilty and sentenced to probation before judgment with one year of unsupervised probation and a $157.50 fine.
Disorderly in the State Park
ASSATEAGUE – Six individuals were charged with disorderly conduct in Assateague State Park last week after Maryland Natural Resources Police received reports about their intoxicated behavior.
Around 4 a.m. last Monday, NRP officers responded to an area in the state park after receiving reports from other campers about a group of extremely intoxicated individuals. As a result, six people were charged with disorderly conduct including Vataline Sinstvev, 21, of Gaithersburg; Artem Kozhemyakov, 22, of Gaithersburg; Vitalijs Balsevics, 25, of Rockville; Sanita Zegele, 27, of Laurel; Timurs Sergunins, 30, of College Park; and Vladislavs Orlovs, 32, of College Park.
Not Guilty Plea Upheld
OCEAN CITY – A Columbia, Md. man was found not guilty of disorderly conduct and affray this week in District Court after pleading not guilty to both offenses for an incident that occurred last year.
On June 6, 2007, Officer Andrew Yeager was on bicycle patrol in the area of Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk when he noticed a gathering of about 10 individuals with more people running toward the commotion. As he approached the driveway where people were gathering, Yeager observed two individuals, one of whom was the defendant, Quinton Bell-King, 19, engaged in a fight. After observing the fight for a few seconds, Officer Yeager separated the two and placed them under arrest.
Judge Darryl Fletcher found Bell-King not guilty, pointing out that the officer only viewed the incident for a few seconds.