Son of ex-drug fighter charged as pot grower


Matthew Wood Kinlein was a child in the early 1970s when his father, Richard, was Howard County's gung-ho, drug-fighting state's attorney. The elder Kinlein occasionally personally led predawn police raids to round up young adults identified by undercover officers as drug sellers and users.

Now 26, Matthew Kinlein knows today how some of those people must have felt when they opened their doors to find the state's attorney and police officers ready with arrest warrants.

State park rangers took Matthew Kinlein into custody Sunday morning as he emerged from one of three cultivated patches of home-grown marijuana growing in a remote section of Patapsco State Park in Carroll County, rangers said. The marijuana had been spotted earlier by a helicopter patrol.

Maryland Forest and Park Service Lt. Chris Bushman, who leads a new, three-member anti-drug unit, said rangers had staked out the patches for two weeks after a ranger working in a Maryland National Guard copter spotted the marijuana growing along the Patapsco River, near where Baltimore, Howard and Carroll counties meet.

Bushman said he and two other rangers watched Sunday as a man approached the area on an off-road motorcycle, his dog on the back seat. The man dismounted, entered one patch of marijuana and was arrested as he emerged later carrying a plastic bag full of harvested pot.

Officers identified the man as Matthew Kinlein, confiscated the motorcycle and his 1986 Ford pickup truck, which was parked across the river near Marriottsville, in Howard County, and then searched Kinlein's Columbia apartment in the 8800 block of Tame Bird Court. There they found dried marijuana and alleged drug paraphernalia, Bushman said. Matthew Kinlein was charged with manufacturing a controlled, dangerous substance, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and trespassing on state land.

Officers pulled the plants up by their roots, bundled them and carried them out of the woods. Bushman said the 84 plants are worth about $125,000 retail.

Kinlein, an electrician who shared the apartment with a quadriplegic who depends on him for help, was taken to the Carroll County Detention Center in Westminster, where he was held until yesterday, when he made the $2,500 bail and was released. Bushman said the paralyzed roommate has made arrangements for temporary care.

This was the ranger anti-drug unit's first arrest.

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