Most Baltimore residents trying to buy drugs would probably stay away from the Central District police station.
But one Illinois man apparently couldn't pass up a good deal offered by an undercover officer. Police said the man followed the officer from a bar to the nearby station house Friday night and handed over $200 for an "eight ball," an eighth of a ounce of cocaine.
"I told him the police station was the safest place in town to do business," said Lt. Michael Tabor, who said a uniformed officer was five feet away when the money exchanged hands.
"It was simply amazing," Tabor said, adding that the man was shocked when the handcuffs went on. The man was on his way home to Mascoutah, Ill., from Camp Lejeune, N.C., after having been discharged from the military.
"That just shows how intoxicated I was," said the suspect, William J. Waldron, 27, of Mascoutah, Ill.
Still in Baltimore yesterday after spending 18 hours in the booking center until he was released on his own recognizance, Waldron said he doesn't remember much about Friday night. "I have no clue what I was doing," he said. "I was just dumb. Stupid." Asked if he planned on visiting Baltimore again, Waldron said, "No, I don't think so." He is scheduled to appear in court on drug charges next month.
Tabor said the case started about 9 p.m. Friday when he got call from an informant who said a man was looking for drugs inside the Chez Joey strip bar in the 400 block of E. Baltimore St. The informant told the man that Tabor, dressed in civilian clothes, was a drug dealer.
Tabor said a man approached him wanting an "eight ball," which normally sells for $250. The man had $200. Concerned that the buyer might be an undercover officer trying to entrap him, Tabor asked to see the money. The man put $200 on the bar. Then Tabor said he followed the man into a bathroom, searched him and looked through his wallet for a badge.
Tabor said he told the man to follow him to the Central District in the 500 block of E. Baltimore St. where he directed him to pay a second undercover officer.
The officer accompanied the man inside to the lobby, where he pretended to make a phone call to a drug supplier. Tabor then arrested the man.