13 charged in alleged cocaine ring tied to Wolf slaying


Federal and local authorities charged 13 people yesterday with being part of a crack cocaine ring linked to the slaying of state police Cpl. Theodore D. Wolf, who was shot when he stopped two of the ring's couriers on their way to buy cocaine in New York.

Since early 1989, the Rodriguez-Polanco organization -- also known as the P Street Gang -- allegedly distributed more than $100 million worth of cocaine throughout Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, court papers said.

The task force of federal and local police culminated their three-year probe -- which netted nearly $1.3 million in drug money seized en route to New York -- with raids throughout Northern Virginia and the Washington area.

The organization is suspected of smuggling crack cocaine base from New York to Virginia and Washington. U.S. Attorney Jay B. Stephens said that the gang sold as much as 40 kilograms of cocaine base each week in the Washington area for the last three years.

Investigators said the gang also has ties to the Crips gang in Los Angeles, and court papers detailed a number of fatal shootings in Washington in which alleged gang members were identified by witnesses or informants as the killers.

The 13 people named in the arrest warrants are charged with conspiracy topossess and distribute 50 grams or more of crack, charges that carry sentences of 10 years to life.

Former Washington Redskins player Eric Yarber was among those arrested. Cars driven by gang members were traced to him, including one he had registered in California, court papers said.

Nine others are being charged through arrest warrants and are being sought.

Two of the gang's members -- Eric Tirado, 27, and Francisco Rodriguez, 21, both of the Bronx, N.Y. -- have been convicted in the 1990 slaying of Corporal Wolf. Tirado was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Rodriguez was given a life sentence as part of a plea agreement with Howard County prosecutors.

Rodriguez' sentence is concurrent with a 15-year sentence on drug charges for his role in the P Street Gang. He will be eligible for parole as soon as the drug sentence is completed.

Corporal Wolf's widow, Virginia, who was outraged by the plea deal, said that she had seen its contents and that it did not include information about the drug ring. When she heard news of the gang members arrests yesterday, Mrs. Wolf said she was surprised. "I asked the prosecutors and the state police long before the trial and they assured me it had absolutely nothing to do with drugs," Mrs. Wolf said. "They said the guys were involved with drugs, but that part had nothing to do with Ted's death."

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