A man described by prosecutors as a major cocaine dealer in Dundalk who sold primarily to dancers at local strip clubs was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors said the investigation of the man dubbed a kingpin for his wide array of clients in eastern Baltimore County prompted police to conduct a secret wire-tap that led to 20 other arrests.

Assistant State's Attorney Francis J. Pilarski Jr. said Dwayne Anthony Booze, 40, would drive to a supplier in Anne Arundel County and take the drugs back to his Dundalk apartment, where he sold to dancers from Christina's Female Revue and Memories, who in turn sold to others.

Booze's attorney, Donna M. Coleman, said police overestimated the scale of the drug ring and "began to realize this wasn't a big catch. The people involved are users and abusers of narcotics. They may have thought they had a kingpin."

Coleman said recordings from the monthlong investigation show that Booze was not successful at drug dealing and at times was not making a profit. When police searched his apartment, there was little cash and no luxury items.

Pilarski said police found 9 ounces of cocaine at Booze's home after they executed a search warrant.

"He is just struggling to make it," Coleman said. "This is not the sophisticated drug trafficker."

She said drug dealing was "the only thing he's really known how to do." Booze has only recently learned how to make a living at manual labor, Coleman said.

"I've realized my whole 40 years I haven't been living right," Booze said. "I've learned to keep a job ... learned to be a human being."

Gerald Shifflett, a 46-year-old contractor for a cable company, was sentenced to five years in the scheme. Police found no drugs in his home, but prosecutors said he was recorded discussing drug sales with Booze.

"I was using, that's what caused the problem," said Robert Clark, another co-defendant, whom prosecutors referred to as a "lower player" in the organization. He was sentenced to three years in prison with 18 months suspended, plus two years probation.

Shannon Rommel, a dancer, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Prosecutors said she was recorded discussing getting cocaine from Booze and taking it to fellow dancers.

Other defendants were convicted previously.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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