Teen gets pro­ba­tion in Elk­ton heroin case

Cecil Whig - - & - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— A teen caught be­hind the wheel of a ve­hi­cle con­tain­ing more than 3,000 bag­gies of heroin dur­ing an Elk­ton traf­fic stop in De­cem­ber re­ceived a sus­pended five-year sen­tence ear­lier this week.

Af­ter im­pos­ing the sus­pended five-year sen­tence dur­ing Mon­day’s hear­ing, re­tired Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court Judge V. Michael Whe­lan or­dered the de­fen­dant, El­iz­a­beth Marie Pow­ell, 19, to serve five years of su­per­vised pro­ba­tion.

Pro­ba­tion con­di­tions re­quired Pow­ell to un­dergo sub­stance abuse treat­ment

ELK­TON

and coun­sel­ing, ab­stain from drugs and al­co­hol and sub­mit to ran­dom uri­nal­y­sis. The judge also or­dered Pow­ell to for­feit $3,404 that in­ves­ti­ga­tors found and con­fis­cated, along with the heroin, while search­ing the ve­hi­cle she had been driv­ing.

The judge al­lowed Pow­ell to trans­fer her pro­ba­tion to York County, Pa. Pow­ell was liv­ing in the 100 block of East Main Street in Elk­ton at the time of her ar­rest, but she has since moved to Manch­ester, Pa.

Pow­ell was sen­tenced af­ter plead­ing guilty to con­spir­acy to pos­sess heroin with in­tent to dis­trib­ute, as part of a plea deal in which pros­e­cu­tors dropped three re­lated charges.

Elk­ton-based lawyer Ed­ward A. Ri­chitelli rep­re­sented Pow­ell.

Of­fi­cers with the Elk­ton Po­lice De­part­ment made the traf­fic stop about 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 14 near the in­ter­sec­tion of Land­ing Lane and West Pu­laski High­way — shortly af­ter a fel­low of­fi­cer con­duct­ing sur­veil­lance in a nearby neigh­bor­hood saw a man — Lawrence Jerome Ray, 21, of the 300 block of Friend­ship Road in Elk­ton — al­legedly sell­ing drugs, court records show.

That of­fi­cer was work­ing an un­der­cover operation in the 100 block of Pheas­ant Drive, when, af­ter three hours of stak­ing out, he saw a gray a Hyundai Elantra pull into a res­i­den­tial park­ing space, po­lice said.

Ray oc­cu­pied the front pas­sen­ger’s seat while Pow­ell, who as 18 at the time, was be­hind the wheel, some­thing in­ves­ti­ga­tors learned later dur­ing traf­fic stop, po­lice added.

Ray got out of the Elantra, walked over to a sil­ver Nis­san Sen­tra parked a few spaces away, and in­ter­acted with some­one inside that ve­hi­cle, po­lice re­ported.

“Mr. Ray ex­changed small items con­sis­tent in size and shape of pack­aged (drugs) for U.S. cur­rency in bill form,” ac­cord­ing to court records.

The driver of the Sen­tra then drove away be­fore the un­der­cover of­fi­cer was able to read the Mary­land li­cense plate, po­lice re­ported.

Sev­eral min­utes later, the covert of­fi­cer saw Ray al­legedly have a sim­i­lar trans­ac­tion with an­other man, who then drove away in a black Chevro­let Cav­a­lier, po­lice said. That car had a Delaware li­cense plate, but the of­fi­cer was able to read only the first three num­bers, po­lice added.

While the stake­out agent was ra­dio­ing what he had just wit­nessed to fel­low of­fi­cers in the area, he saw the Elantra leave the neigh­bor­hood, po­lice re­ported.

The covert agent saw the Elantra driver fail to give a sig­nal, be­fore mak­ing a right turn from Hunts­man Drive onto Cow Lane, and he re­ported that ob­served traf­fic in­frac­tion to nearby of­fi­cers, ac­cord­ing to court records.

Those of­fi­cers stopped the Elantra, made Pow­ell and Ray get out of the car and dis­patched a Ce­cil County Sher­iff’s Of­fice K-9 unit, po­lice said. CCSO Dfc. Michael Thomas ar­rived with his spe­cially trained scent dog, Roscoe, and the ca­nine alerted to the pres­ence of il­le­gal drugs while scan­ning the car, po­lice added.

While search­ing the car, in­ves­ti­ga­tors found 3,067 bag­gies of heroin inside a shoe­box, ac­cord­ing to court records, which in­di­cate that the bag­gies had been stamped with the street lo­gos of “Godzilla,” TAR­GET,” and “Z99.”

Of­fi­cers also con­fis­cated $3,404, which they found inside Ray’s sock, and four pre­scrip­tion painkillers lo­cated inside his pocket, po­lice re­ported.

Ray de­clined to speak with in­ves­ti­ga­tors af­ter his ar­rest, court records show.

Pow­ell, how­ever, told de­tec­tives that she saw Ray place a white bag in the back seat of her car when he en­tered it and that, at the out­set of the traf­fic stop, “Mr. Ray told her to pull away from the of­fi­cers as they ap­proached the ve­hi­cle,” court records al­lege.

In April, af­ter plead­ing guilty to pos­ses­sion of heroin with in­tent to dis­trib­ute, Ray re­ceived a four-year prison term. Specif­i­cally, the judge im­posed a 15-year sen­tence on Ray and then sus­pended 11 years of it, court records show. As part of his sen­tence, Ray must serve five years of su­per­vised pro­ba­tion af­ter com­plet­ing his four-year prison term.

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