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Prosecutors drop drug charges after feds indict defendant

Desmond Earl Gritten
Desmond Earl Gritten(Submitted photo, HANDOUT)

Carroll prosecutors dropped drug trafficking charges against a Westminster man Thursday after he was indicted in federal court, where he could face harsher penalties.

Desmond Earl Gritten, 28, of the 200 block of East Green Street, was arrested in November after Westminster Police Department narcotics investigators conducted a six-month investigation into drug trafficking in the city that led to a search warrant for Gritten's home.

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Police said they found two loaded handguns, more than a pound of suspected marijuana, 9.5 grams of suspected heroin, 263 grams of suspected cocaine and $11,642, according to a news release from the Westminster Police Department.

Duane Nesta Ross, 29, also of the 200 block of E. Green St., and Ralph Lee Herrion, 26, of the 300 block of Juliet Way, were also charged in connection with the incident, according to the release.

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Gritten was indicted May 19 by a federal grand jury in Baltimore and charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of ammunition by a felon, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, heroin and marijuana, according to electronic court files.

Deputy State's Attorney Edward Coyne said his office dropped the pending charges in Carroll County against Gritten because of the federal indictment, but the cases against Ross and Herrion are proceeding locally.

Coyne said federal prosecutors chose to indict Gritten based on his record and the circumstances of the case. The weapons were found to be in his possession and his co-defendants were not charged with the firearms offenses.

Ross is scheduled for a hearing in the Circuit Court for Carroll County on July 13 and a criminal court trial Sept. 21. Herrion is scheduled for a two-day jury trial Sept. 16 and 17.

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