After more than a month of surveillance, plainclothes police officers raided a house early yesterday in Southwest Baltimore, arrested three men and seized a large amount of suspected heroin packaged for street sale.
A police spokesman said the officers found 3,200 gel caps and a loaded handgun in the basement of a home in the 2500 block of W. Pratt St. when they entered about 6:45 a.m. The men were involved in a heroin-dealing operation that received large quantities of the illegal drug twice a day, police said.
Agent Donny Moses, the spokesman, said the seized drugs represented a half-day's worth of the quantity normally sold out of the house. "This was the morning supply," he said.
Police displayed several bags of the gel caps on a pool table in the station house basement.
Officers said that drug buyers come from the neighborhoods and from across the city and the region - even as far away as Tennessee.
The gel caps were filled with what appeared to be a white granular substance, and Moses said it would be tested to see if it is indeed heroin. Dozens of gel caps filled small plastic bags that were each labeled "3.5" or "2.5" - the officers said they did not know what the labels meant. Each cap costs about $10 on the street.
The three men arrested at the house were charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute and handgun violations. They were identified as Thomas P. Hill, 55, of the 200 block of N. Calhoun St.; Maron B. McDonald, 22, of the 3400 block of Spelman Road; and Arnold Burton, 40, of the 2500 block of W. Pratt St.
Hill pleaded guilty to an intent-to-distribute charge in 2004 and received a suspended sentence with probation. The next year, he violated his probation and was ordered to spend a year in prison.
Burton was charged with drug possession last June and was given one year of probation by a city District Court judge. That probation ended July 24.