Teen gets probation in Elkton heroin case
— 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
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.