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2 men held on drug charges


A Hampstead man and a Baltimore County man are being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on drug-trafficking charges after a two-month investigation involving surveillance by the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force.

Gerald Leroy Hooper, 37, of the 100 block of Houcksville Road South, and George Ronald Coughlin, 28, of Marriottsville have been in police custody since they were arrested Friday near Mr. Coughlin's home in the 10000 block of Marriottsville Road.

Task force officers said Mr. Hooper is suspected of selling about an ounce of cocaine each week in the county.

Mr. Coughlin is accused of supplying the drug, police said.

"He [Mr. Hooper] was covering the bar scene," said Sgt. Andrew McKendrick, the task force officer in charge of the investigation. "He was selling at various bars around Carroll County."

About 10 a.m. Friday, investigators followed Mr. Hooper to a location in Baltimore, where he met Mr. Coughlin, and then to Mr. Coughlin's residence, police said.

When the men left Mr. Coughlin's home a short time later, police stopped Mr. Coughlin's car near Berryman's Lane and Deer Park Road in Baltimore County and used a police dog to check the car for drugs.

The dog alerted police that there were drugs in the area and the officers searched the car and the suspects.

Police found Mr. Hooper carrying a half-ounce of cocaine, and Mr. Coughlin had $1,300 in cash in his trousers pockets, Sergeant McKendrick said.

The two men were arrested and taken back to Mr. Coughlin's residence. Having obtained a search warrant earlier, police searched the house, the sergeant said.

Police reported they found another ounce of cocaine, an electronic digital scale and packaging materials such as plastic bags in a fire safe in a bathroom.

Several loaded handguns, a bullet-proof vest and about $7,000 in cash were also confiscated, police said.

Both men are being held in the Baltimore County Detention Center. Mr. Hooper is being held on $50,000 bail, and Mr. Coughlin is being held on $75,000 bail.

Neither man has been charged with violating any Carroll County laws, but Sergeant McKendrick said the investigation continues.

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