Baltimore police on a crime-suppression detail interrupted a drug deal a half-block from the Northwestern District station and seized about 35 pounds of marijuana worth about $70,000 Tuesday night, officials said yesterday.
Officer Keith A. Gladstone and five other officers noticed three cars parked illegally in the 5200 block of Fairlawn Ave. with several people loitering nearby about 9:45 p.m.
The officers, who were patrolling the district to enforce "quality of life" crimes, approached the cars and began questioning the group, including a man sitting in a BMW, Gladstone said.
That man gave the officers consent to search the car, Gladstone said, and police recovered a bag containing about 2 ounces of marijuana. That small seizure led to more in-depth searches of all three cars, police said.
From the Honda Accord parked next to the BMW police seized six 1-gallon bags of marijuana, an ounce of cocaine, a .357-caliber handgun and nearly $6,000 in cash, police said.
In the trunk of the third car, a Ford Focus, police recovered a large bag containing about 25 pounds of marijuana and $5,000 in cash, Gladstone said.
Officers later searched two houses and found another 5 pounds of marijuana and $19,000 in cash, police said.
Gladstone said the officers interrupted a drug deal involving a New York distributor and two buyers - one selling in Baltimore, the other in Washington.
Three men were arrested on marijuana-related distribution charges in the investigation: Denton P. Hopwood, 40, of Long Island, New York; Alvin McCollin, 43, of the 1200 block of Woodbourne Ave. in Baltimore; and Andre Hill, 25, of Northwest Washington. Hill was also charged with handgun possession. They were being processed yesterday at the Central Booking and Intake Center.
Chief of Patrol J. Charles Gutberlet III credited the arrests to good police work, saying the officers took their jobs an extra step by asking questions and not just moving suspicious people along. "We don't just want to herd cattle," he said.
The detail's other officers were William Bearde, Michael George, Walter Jackson-Hill, Alexi Correa and Dale Garcia.