'Stop Snitching' cameraman arrested

A West Baltimore man who acted as cameraman for the notorious Stop Snitching DVD was arrested yesterday at his home, where police found 198 bags of raw heroin, as well as drug-packaging machinery.

Police said the man's role in the DVD - including a scene shot near his house - led to his arrest.

Akiba M. Matthews, 32, of the 1100 block of N. Monroe St. was charged with two counts of possession with the intent to distribute, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, according to charging documents.

Matthews was being held at Central Booking and Intake Center yesterday, said police spokesman Matt Jablow.

Stop Snitching uses threats of violence to intimidate people and stop them from reporting illegal activities.

Matthews has served several stints in jail for five felony narcotics convictions, as well as a handgun violation, Jablow said.

Another man who appears in the DVD, George Butler, 30, of Owings Mills, was arrested last month with 12 others accused of being part of a Northwest Baltimore drug gang.

Police Lt. William Davis said members of the Western District's drug unit found about $3,500 worth of heroin and cocaine, including 105 gelatin tablets of heroin and 4 grams of pure cocaine, in Matthews' bedroom.

They also discovered $2,000 and machinery for manufacturing gelatin tablets - a popular way to package narcotics. Matthews' car also was confiscated.

Police Detective Donald Haskins said Matthews had "quite a lot" of drugs considering that police allege he is a "street-level" dealer.

One reason for this might be anticipation of the arrival of welfare checks in the community, which are mailed at the beginning and middle of the month, Haskins said.

The Stop Snitching DVD led police to Matthews, said Jablow. During a review of the video, detectives who had been investigating Matthews spotted him among street people and drug dealers.

Matthews appears in the DVD several times. In one scene, he is shown in a baggy white T-shirt, his hair in cornrows, threatening to hurt people who get in the way of the illegal drug trade.

In the next frame, another man is shown putting a choke hold on a woman.

In his next appearance, Matthews and another drug dealer make fun of people who don't sell drugs, laughing at them because they work at Burger King and don't make enough money to entertain women or buy nice clothes.

Matthews goes on to brag that, unlike people who sell bags of fast food, "my bags cost $20," a reference to the street price of drugs.

Police said that Matthews' neighborhood serves as a backdrop for at least one scene in the DVD.

A close inspection of the area was all police needed to locate Matthews, Jablow said.

Matthews is listed in the DVD's credits. Under "Camera" is his street name, "Keeve."

Police have arrested three other people, two on handgun charges and one in a homicide and a nonfatal shooting, who frequented a bar featured in the Stop Snitching, Jablow said.

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