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Sip & Bite owner charged in cocaine sting, federal prosecutors say

Anthony Vasiliades, an owner of the Sip & Bite, was arrested in a federal drug sting.
Anthony Vasiliades, an owner of the Sip & Bite, was arrested in a federal drug sting.(Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

An owner of a popular Baltimore diner that has been featured on a television food show was arrested in a federal sting and charged with conspiring to possess and sell cocaine, federal criminal records show.

U.S. prosecutors said Anthony Vasiliades, who federal court records show as an owner of the Sip & Bite diner in Canton, and co-defendant Minas Politis were working together to acquire and sell 500 grams or more of cocaine, according to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia.

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Mina Ginsberg, Vasiliades' attorney, declined to comment, saying the case would be decided in court. A phone message left for Vasiliades at Sip & Bite was referred to Ginsberg.

According to the federal affidavit, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Arlington, Va., police were investigating a drug ring in November when a confidential informant came to Arlington detectives, telling them that Politis and Vasiliades had asked him to find a cocaine seller they could buy from. The three met in Washington, D.C., to discuss the purchase, and the informant shared texts that came out of that meeting with detectives, the affidavit said.

Arlington police told the informant to tell the two buyers that he found a supplier to sell them two kilograms of cocaine for $50,000, court records say. Between Jan. 9 and Jan. 14,, the informant spoke with Politis in phone conversations that investigators said they recorded.

"Guaranteed," Politis said in the recorded exchange. "Two for fifty."

"Yup, two for fifty," court records show the informant replying.

"My man, my man…," Politis said.

On Jan. 14, an Arlington police set up the transaction in a parking lot where an undercover detective posed as a cocaine seller. Investigators say Vasiliades showed up with Politis, and the informant got into the car. He got out, detectives said, with a "clear plastic document organizer under his arm."

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Inside, detectives said, was $50,000 in cash. The informant got into his car, grabbed a small black canvas sack with cocaine the DEA had provided and passed the bag to Vasiliades, investigators said.

Law enforcement officers closed in as the car tried to leave the parking lot, and both men were arrested.

On Jan. 16, federal court records show, Vasiliades was granted his release from jail under conditions that he not leave the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area without prior approval of pretrial services officials or a federal judge. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing but no future court date was set, records show.

Twitter.com/justingeorge

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