Former N. Laurel resident pleads guilty in drug distribution case


A former North Laurel resident pleaded guilty yesterday to felony drug distribution in exchange for a plea agreement that will limit his time in jail to 18 months.

Gregory Kenneth Fries, 43, was initially charged with drug and fireworks offenses after Howard police found cocaine, heroin, weapons and fireworks mortars during an August search of his home in the 9800 block of Gorman Road. Prosecutors later decided not to pursue the fireworks charges.

The investigation was prompted by a tip that said Fries was selling drugs from the Gorman Road address, police said after his arrest. The search of his house and safe turned up 48.5 grams of cocaine base, a digital scale, $1,320 in cash and several empty Ziploc bags, prosecutors said yesterday.

The money, amount of cocaine and weighing and packaging material all show that Fries intended to sell the drugs, prosecutors said.

Prosecutor Brendan Clary told Howard Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure that as part of a plea agreement, his office has agreed to limit its request for jail time to 18 months. Fries is due for sentencing June 18.

Defense attorney Jason A. Shapiro said Fries, who listed a new address in Burtonsville in court papers, plans to attend a substance abuse treatment program before his sentencing date.

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