Howard police arrest 10 in drug investigation Raids made across county follow 8-month undercover probe of dealer network


An article in Saturday editions about Howard County drug arrests incorrectly stated when drugs were bought by undercover detectives. The drugs were purchased during an eight-month investigation.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Police swept across Howard County before dawn yesterday, armed with arrest warrants for 20 residents accused of peddling cocaine, heroin and marijuana from homes, parking lots and bars.

Ten people were arrested by 2 p.m., and police said they were still searching for the others.

"This shows the availability of drugs on Howard County streets," said Sgt. Keith Lessner of the narcotics unit. "It shows the emergence of heroin. It shows that you can get marijuana, heroin or cocaine any time you want it."

The roundup ended an eight-month investigation by undercover detectives of a loose network of dealers across the county, said Lt. Tim Branning, who heads the vice and narcotics unit.

Two people wanted in connection with the sweep were arrested by Baltimore County and Ocean City police this week. An Ellicott City woman also was arrested yesterday and charged with passing false prescriptions yesterday.

Branning said undercover detectives had purchased drugs several times from each suspect during "arranged buys" in the eastern part of Howard, from North Laurel to Ellicott City to Columbia.

Branning and other officers said the sweep disrupted a growing network of dealers, who often refer buyers to other peddlers.

Though police said the majority of buys took place in parking lots and bars, undercover detectives also purchased heroin and marijuana yesterday at a house in Fulton and two apartments in Ellicott City. They found drugs and drug paraphernalia in those homes, said police, who also seized $2,800.

At 5 a.m., Branning and Less-ner briefed 21 officers at the Southern District police station.

Then the officers hit the streets, making the first arrest at about 6: 40 a.m. and the others soon after.

About 7 a.m., police said they coaxed a suspect out of the Fulton house after arranging a drug purchase by telephone. Officers arrested him and found marijuana in his pockets, Branning said.

After searching his home and finding marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia there, police seized the suspect's car. Charged with distribution of marijuana and possession of marijuana was Thomas Joseph Pierce, 26, of the 7000 block of Pindell School Road.

About the same time, police battered down the door of an Ellicott City apartment after nobody answered repeated knocking.

A half-hour later, police led Parrish Michael Spinoso, 22 and a college student, from his apartment. He faces heroin distribution and possession charges.

Two others staying with Spinoso -- John Samuel Collins, 27, and Angela Irene Kress, 24 -- were charged with cocaine possession.

Residents said they were shocked that their quiet neighbors had been carted off by police.

About an hour later, police were searching an apartment in the 8800 block of Town & Country Blvd. in Ellicott City. They arrested a mother and daughter, charging Janet Marie Mays, 46, and Joanne Marie Mays-Shaver, 21, with marijuana distribution, conspiracy to distribute marijuana and possession of marijuana.

Pub Date: 6/06/98

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