Westminster man pleads guilty to five drug counts from raid


A Westminster man, the first of about 20 defendants to reach trial on charges stemming from a four-month drug investigation, pleaded guilty yesterday to five counts of selling crack cocaine to undercover troopers.

Tyrone A. Wilford, 34, of the first block of Wimert Ave. was arrested in August during "Operation Sullivan," a police action named after Sullivan Avenue on Westminster's west side, where residents had urged police to shut down an open-air drug market.

Since the first arrests Aug. 6, 83 people have been charged with drug-related offenses, many of those through a cooperative effort of Westminster police and the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force, said Roger G. Joneckis, Westminster police chief.

The task force is operated by the Maryland State Police, the Carroll County sheriff and state's attorney. Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. deferred Wilford's sentencing until Jan. 18, allowing the defendant time to care for his wife, who recently was severely injured in a car accident.

Beck reminded Wilford that if he fails to report for meetings with pre-sentence monitors, "all bets are off as to this sentencing agreement," and he could be sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Prosecutor Brian DeLeonardo said the state will ask the judge to impose a 20-year sentence.

DeLeonardo said in court that Wilford sold crack cocaine to undercover state troopers on five occasions between June 3 and July 6, and that all of the sales occurred at a home in the first block of Sullivan Ave.

"I have been pleased with how well the different police agencies have cooperated to develop the cases" stemming from Operation Sullivan, DeLeonardo said.

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