Tip leads to drug charges


Acting on a tip, law enforcement officials with the Frederick County Narcotics Task Force arrested a Union Bridge man late Tuesday afternoon, after seizing 10 pounds of marijuana and $3,000 in cash at a rural home near the Carroll County border, officials said.

Roger Wayne Bell, 47, of 12306 Coppermine Road, was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, manufacture of marijuana, simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, officials said.

Charges of maintaining a public nuisance were pending, said Jerry F. Barnes, Frederick County's chief narcotics prosecutor and legal liaison to the task force.

Mr. Bell, who owns the property, was released Wednesday on $6,000 bail, Mr. Barnes said.

The felony counts of possession with intent to distribute and manufacture of marijuana each carry a possible prison term of up to 5 years and/or a $15,000 fine. The simple possession charge carries a sentence of up to one year and/or a $1,000 fine, while the paraphernalia charge carries a $500 fine, Mr. Barnes said.

"Because of the quantity of the seizure, apparent ownership of the property and the lack of any liens on the property, we'll most likely seeking forfeiture of the property" -- described as 1.5 acres near Coppermine Road and Route 175, he said.

In addition to the 10 pounds of marijuana -- described as the largest seizure in the county this year -- law enforcement officials on the task force seized four large, "very healthy" marijuana plants, Mr. Barnes said, adding the marijuana had an estimated retail street value of $40,000.

The $3,000 in various denominations -- secreted in a heat vent on the floor of the residence -- was seized "because of the proximity" to the marijuana, Mr. Barnes said.

Members of the task force served a search warrant yesterday, after a tip, Mr. Barnes said.

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