Cecil Whig

Raids net second drug arrest for Elkton woman since May

- By CARL HAMILTON cahamilton@cecilwhig.com

ELKTON — Officers arrested a woman free on bond in a drug case — one related to a triple-shooting investigat­ion — after finding more than two ounces of suspect crack cocaine and other evidence while raiding her Elkton residence and a nearby dwelling that detectives believe served as her “stash house,” according to Cecil

County District

Court records.

Investigat­ors arrested the suspect, Crystal Hammond, 44, on Oct. 21 after seizing evidence while searching her residence at

103 Cow Lane in Hollingswo­rth Manor, police reported.

They also took her alleged accomplice, Dorothy Sprout, 67, into custody after raiding Sprout’s nearby residence in the unit block of that neighborho­od, police said. Investigat­ors allege that Sprout’s residence served as a stash house, where Hammond allegedly kept drugs and money, police added.

This marks Hammond’s second drug arrest since May — when she initially was charged with three counts of attempted firstdegre­e murder and additional felonies in the wake of a tripleshoo­ting that led to a protracted barricade situation at her Cow Lane residence and at another dwelling in Hollingswo­rth Manor. (Moreover, it marks Hammond’s third drug arrest since April 2019, court records show.)

A Cecil County grand jury did

not indict Hammond on the attempted murder charges, however, after her district court case was forwarded to Cecil County Circuit Court and prosecutor­s presented the case to that 23-member panel.

But the grand jury did hand up a 13-count drug indictment against Hammond, according to court records.

Those charging documents allege that investigat­ors confiscate­d 74 baggies of suspect heroin marked by “Donald Trump” and “Cash App” street-brand stamps, in addition to suspect methamphet­amine and marijuana, while raiding Hammond’s Cow Lane residence in the aftermath of that May 11 barricade situation. The barricade situation at that Cow Lane address ended with one of the five suspects surrenderi­ng to members of a police tactical team several hours after the stand-off had started.

The barricade situations occurred after suspects fired several shots into a residence in the 100 block of Huntsman Drive, a townhouse community adjacent to Hollingswo­rth Manor, at approximat­ely 3 p.m. on May 11 — wounding a man, 25, in the back and a boy, 6, in the left knee. A 31-year-old woman suffered a superficia­l wound to her foot.

Arrested amid or directly after the barricade situations were Hammond and her two sons — Robert Eugene Hammond IV, 24, and Cody Allen Hammond, 19, according to court records, which indicate that the Hammond family was living at 103 Cow Lane at the time of the incident.

(Robert Hammond is the suspect who surrendere­d to the police tactical team at the Cow Lane residence, ending the barricade situation there, police said, adding that his mother and younger brother had surrendere­d earlier that day.)

Also arrested were Jason Tyler Holland, 26, of North East — he turned himself in to police after spending two days on the lam — and Nakeere Anthony Sayers, 20, of Newark, Del.

The Hammond brothers and Holland are each charged with three counts of attempted firstdegre­e murder and other felonies connected to the triple shooting, and they are awaiting jury trials set for January and February. Holland and Cody Hammond are free after posting bonds of $100,000 and $75,000 respective­ly. Robert Hammond remains jailed without bond.

Sayers, who remains jailed without bond, was not charged with attempted murder. He is facing only drug and firearm charges — which are linked to a handgun, 18 baggies of suspect heroin and a small amount of suspect marijuana found inside of a backpack that he allegedly discarded moments after the triple shooting, court records show.

As for Crystal Hammond, she was released from jail on an unsecured $25,000 bond on May 14, three days after her arrest in the wake of the triple shooting and the related barricade situations, court records show. Latest drug arrest Hammond was free on that $25,000 unsecured bond Wednesday, when EPD investigat­ors arrested her and Sprout after conducting a sur veillance operation and then raiding their respective residences, police said. The surveillan­ce operation and the raids were prompted by an investigat­ion by EPD’s Street Crimes Unit, police added.

A sur veilling EPD investigat­or watched an empty-handed Hammond leave her Cow Lane residence on Wednesday and return, moments later, carrying a brown shopping bag, according to court records.

The investigat­or then watched Hammond make an alleged “hand-to-hand” drug deal with a man who exited a red car parked in front of the Cow Lane residence and drove away directly after that purported transactio­n, court records allege.

Then the investigat­or watched

Hammond — still holding the shopping bag — walk to Road 1, go into Sprout’s residence at 16 Hollingswo­rth Manor and leave empty-handed about three minutes later, before walking back to her Cow Lane residence, according to charging documents.

A short time later, the investigat­or watched Hammond leave her Cow Lane residence and walk to Road I, where she entered a white vehicle and engaged in another alleged hand-to-hand drug deal, police said. Hammond then exited that vehicle, which left the area quickly, police added.

“Hammond went back inside 103 Cow Lane. Hammond then left her residence and walked to and entered 16 Hollingswo­rth Manor. Hammond then left the residence after being inside approximat­ely five minutes. Hammond was then holding a black hand purse,” EPD Ofc. Miodzianow­ski, the arresting officer, outlines in his written statement of probable cause.

Shortly after that surveillan­ce operation, which was conducted by EPD Det. Thomas Saulsbury, Miodzianow­ski approached Hammond at the Wawa in the 300 block of West Pulaski Highway (Route 40), a short walking distance from Hollingswo­rth Manor, court records show.

The officer detained Hammond and drove her to EPD’s headquarte­rs at 100 Railroad Ave., where he conducted a courtappro­ved search of Hammond, police reported. Miodzianow­ski confiscate­d approximat­ely $1,000 in cash, three prescripti­on anti-anxiety (alprazolam) pills and a cell phone — all of which were found inside the black hand purse, court records allege.

“The alprazolam pills were packaged in a knotted plastic bag, which based on my training, knowledge and experience is consistent with packaging (drugs) for sale,” Miodzianow­ski notes in charging papers.

Investigat­ors then conducted a court-approved search of Hammond’s Cow Lane residence, where they found 14 suspect amphetamin­e pills parceled into “individual knotted plastic bags,” seven suspect Suboxone strips located under a bed mattress, five suspected prescripti­on stimulant (Vyvanse) pills, four suspect sedative pills, one suspect alprazolam pill and two cell phones, court records allege.

They also executed a search warrant at Sprout’s residence at 16 Hollingswo­rth Manor and confiscate­d suspect crack cocaine contained in six knotted sandwich baggies and about $1,500 in cash, which was contained in a lunch box inside a shopping bag, police said. The suspect cocaine had a total weight of 60 grams, which equates to four grams more than two ounces, police added. There are about 56 grams in two ounces.

Officers confiscate­d approximat­ely $1,500 in additional cash inside the shopping bag, which also held 12 suspect amphetamin­e pills and one alprazolam pill, police reported.

“The brown shopping bag found inside the residence was consistent with the brown shopping bag Det. Saulsbury observed Hammond have in her possession before entering 16 Hollingswo­rth Manor,” according to charging documents, which further indicate that searchers did not find any other shopping bags that likened the one that the surveillin­g detective saw Hammond carrying.

Investigat­ors noted “numerous text messages consistent with (illegal drug) sales” while checking the content of the cell phones seized from Hammond and Sprout, court records allege.

Hammond reportedly waived her right to remain silent and, during a police interview, confessed to investigat­ors, court records allege.

“Hammond advised she had been keeping U.S. currency at Sprout’s residence. Hammond then advised she has been selling crack cocaine and cocaine. Hammond also acknowledg­ed the crack cocaine and cocaine inside Sprout’s residence belonged allege.

Scheduled for a Nov. 18 preliminar­y hearing, Hammond is facing 22 criminal charges, including nine felony counts of possession of a controlled and dangerous substance with intent to distribute, according to court records.

Hammond remained in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond on Tuesday, five days after her bail review hearing court records show.

Sprout, who is free after posting a $1,500 bond, is facing four charges, including one felony count of possession of a controlled and dangerous substance with intent to distribute, according to court records.

Previous drug arrests

A trial date has not been set for Hammond in her most recent drug case.

As for Hammond’s drug case stemming from the investigat­ion prompted by the May 11 tripleshoo­ting and barricades situations, her jury trial is scheduled to start on Feb. 9. In that case, Hammond is facing 13 charges that relate to investigat­ors confiscati­ng 74 baggies of suspect heroin, as well as suspect methamphet­amine and marijuana and $644 in cash, court records show.

That marked Hammond’s second drug arrest in a 13-month span.

In April 2019, investigat­ors took Hammond into custody after confiscati­ng 200 baggies containing suspect heroin mixed with fentanyl, a drug scale, a drug sales ledger and other evidence while raiding two Hollingswo­rth Manor residences, according to court records and Cecil Whig archives. (Also arrested during those raids were Hammond’s son, Robert, and her daughter, court records show.)

Prosecutor­s, however, later dropped several of the 42 charges against Crystal Hammond and placed the remaining ones on the stet, or inactive, docket, according to court records and Whig archives.. to her,” court records

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