Former Gov. Harry Hughes' grandson has been charged with taking as much as $250,000 from his grandfather to support his heroin habit and for possessing and distributing drugs as part of a major trafficking ring on the Eastern Shore.
Andrew Douglas White, 26, whose court records list his residence as both Hughes' home in Denton and an address in Glen Burnie, was indicted in July on 20 counts of theft, obtaining property from a vulnerable adult and possessing and distributing narcotics.
White was arraigned two weeks ago in Caroline County Circuit Court and released; online court records do not list a trial date.
White's indictment came as part of a major investigation on the Shore that has resulted the arrests of about 20 people, a number that officials say could grow as they try to stem the tide of heroin and other drugs in what has been considered a generally placid part of the state.
"It's certainly out here, even on the Eastern Shore that is supposed to be more of a quiet area," said Joe Riley, senior assistant states attorney for Caroline County. "It's become an epidemic."
He declined to discuss White's case, but according to an article in The Star Democrat, police allege that the man stole more than $250,000 from his grandfather over a two-year period. According to the news account, White got the money using Hughes' ATM card and from checks the former governor wrote for him.
Hughes would not comment on the case, said Cynthia Sharer, who identified herself as Hughes' personal assistant and answered the phone at his home on Wednesday. "It's a tough time," she said.
Earlier, though, the Associated Press reported that Hughes, 87, denied that his grandson had stolen from him.
"I told the judge that he had permission to use my card," the wire service reported Hughes as saying.
Hughes was governor from 1979 to 1987, taking over an office whose reputation had been battered by scandal during the terms of his two predecessors, Spiro T. Agnew and Marvin Mandel.
For much of this year, officials said, the Caroline County Drug Task Force has led a multi-agency investigation that has resulted in several suspects being charged as drug kingpins, a designation for dealers who traffick in larger amounts and are "higher up in the food chain," Riley said.
Maryland State Police said in June that investigators believe Gary T. Kess, Jr., 36, of Windsor Mill, charged as a kingpin, supplied the heroin that Byron S. Drummond, 27, of Denton, also charged as a kingpin, and his organization sold.
Court records show that Drummond's charges were not prosecuted and he was released. But he has since been detained on related charges that are sealed, the Caroline County state's attorney's office said on Wednesday.
After the June arrests, police said they seized more than 230 grams of heroin as well as other drugs, $42,000 in cash, eight vehicles and eight firearms.