Baltimore County police raided a paroled killer's home yesterday and said they found evidence that they believe links him to a million-dollar-a-month cocaine and heroin ring allegedly operated by four other paroled murderers.
"That's five convicted murderers involved in the same drug ring," said Sgt. David Diseroad, of the Baltimore County narcotics squad, speaking of the so-called "murderers' row" drug ring.
Police said William Howard Smith, 44, should not have been out on the street.
He was convicted of murdering a Baltimore man in 1968 and given 99 years in prison. He was paroled in 1989 but convicted of a felony drug charge two years later.
According to police, Smith received a five-year suspended sentence on the drug conviction and was placed on five years' probation. Smith's parole agent tried to have his parole revoked, which would have sent him back to prison to serve the rest of the murder sentence. The parole commission refused that request and continued Smith's parole.
"Our feeling is we shouldn't even have to be working on these guys," Sergeant Diseroad said.
Yesterday, police raided Smith's home in the 6400 block of Liberty Road as part of a drug investigation separate from the "murderers' row" drug ring.
They reported finding cocaine residue, $3,900, drug packaging materials and evidence that they said links Smith to the million-dollar drug that police broke up three weeks ago.
Police said Smith likely will be charged as a co-conspirator in the "murderers' row" drug ring. He was being held at the Woodlawn precinct. No bail had been set as of last night.
His murder conviction stems from a Jan. 12, 1968, holdup in which he robbed and killed Herbert Landsman, 50, the owner of a downtown liquor store. The robbery netted Smith $129.
On May 4, police raided 13 homes and businesses in Baltimore and Baltimore and Harford counties. They seized $38,000, at least $100,000 worth of drugs and a large cache of weapons, including an Uzi submachine gun.
Police identified the ringleader as Robert Lee Wilson, 46, of the 6700 block of Windsor Mill Road, Woodlawn.
He was convicted of second-degree murder in the shotgun slaying of Baltimore police officer Lorenzo Gray during a July 1972 holdup.
He was paroled from a 40-year prison term in 1986.
Three other paroled killers charged in the drug ring are Frederick "Moe" Goodman, 40, who stabbed a man to death on a Baltimore street in 1970; Robert Smallwood, 34, who was paroled this year for the 1978 murder of an 83-year-old store owner; and James A. Bryant, 40, who shot a man who tried to resist a $23 robbery in 1974.