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TV's Simpson trial makes things easier for police Officers raid house, nab 4 drug suspects as verdict is read


Even the cocaine trade stopped as O. J. Simpson went free.

And Baltimore police didn't hesitate to take advantage of the Simpson lull that swept the city.

Stymied for weeks by the lookouts for a group of cocaine and heroin dealers, detectives used the "popularity of the O. J. Simpson trial" to safely raid a suspected East Baltimore drug house Tuesday.

It worked. Officers burst through the door moments before the verdict was read and found four suspects sacked out on a couch watching the television drama.

"They didn't get a chance to enjoy it," said Maj. Odis L. Sistrunk, commander of the Eastern District, adding that the suspected dealers were handcuffed as the clerk read the not-guilty verdict.

"If it weren't for the show," the major said, "we would have had a good chance of losing some of these people."

The major said the house, in the 1600 block of Eareckson Place, has been an irritant for some time, with dozens of people waiting in line by the front door for their drugs. "But every time we came in, the people were gone," he said. "We had to find a way of getting in there without being noticed."

Police said one man armed with a .357-caliber Magnum handgun tried to run from the living room, but was quickly caught. Police said they confiscated 750 capsules of suspected heroin, 60 vials of suspected cocaine, a hand-held police scanner programmed to the Eastern District frequency and $1,500 in cash.

"It was almost like catching fish in a barrel," Major Sistrunk said.

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