Drugs, fireworks seized at home

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Howard County police have charged a North Laurel man they had sought since last month with several drug and firework violations after he was arrested Friday by Montgomery County police in a domestic assault, police said yesterday.

On Saturday, Howard police charged Gregory K. Fries, 43, with multiple counts of drug and drug paraphernalia possession, and with intent to sell drugs. They also charged him with possession of commercial-grade fireworks for which he did not have a license.

Police found 11 2-inch Class B firework mortars in a safe that was removed from his home in the 9800 block of Gorman Road during a search, according to police charging documents.

Details of the domestic assault incident were not available yesterday.

Sherry Llewellyn, a police spokeswoman, said yesterday during a news conference at Northern District headquarters in Ellicott City that the kind of fireworks found at the home are "a commercial type ... often modified by people who want to use them for inappropriate purposes."

Llewellyn said the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was studying the composition of the fireworks and that Howard police were continuing their investigation.

Police began investigating the man in mid-August after receiving a tip that he was selling drugs at his home, she said.

A police informant purchased cocaine from the man at his home late last month, Llewellyn said, and police executed a search warrant Aug. 23. The suspect was not caught.

But during a search of the home, and after a search of a safe seized there, police said they found cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, drug paraphernalia, rifles, ammunition, chloroform and numerous devices referred to as Class B fireworks in police charging documents.

Such fireworks are typically used by licensed professionals who operate public fireworks displays, said W. Faron Taylor, deputy state fire marshal.

Police also seized more than $2,000 in cash.

Fries is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail at the Howard County Detention Center, according to court records.

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