The Washington Post
21 Arrested In Raids Aimed at PCP Ring
D.C. Chief Alleges Major ‘Drug Pipeline’
Authorities said yesterday that they had broken up a drug-trafficking network that was supplying significant quantities of PCP to neighborhoods in the District.
The investigation, launched by the D.C. police two years ago after a routine traffic stop in Northwest Washington, culminated in raids this week in the District, Maryland and Virginia and in the arrest of 21 people on charges of conspiring to distribute PCP and heroin.
“This started as an investigation of small-time drug dealing that led up to a major, major drug pipeline across the country into Washington, D.C.,” Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said yesterday at a news conference.
Initiated by the 4th Police District vice unit, the investigation eventually included the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies. Wiretaps were used on some of the targets of the probe, including one of the lead defendants, Lonnell Glover. A cellphone of Glover’s was tapped, and a vehicle of his was bugged.
In the raids this week, law enforcement officers seized more than $300,000 in cash, 17 firearms, half a kilogram of heroin and several gallons of phencyclidine, or PCP.
Known for the violent, unpredictable behavior it can induce, PCP is used in a number of ways. One of the most common involves dipping a cigarette in PCP to create what is known on the street as a “dipper.”
U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor, who was a narcotics prosecutor early in his career at the Justice Department, said the case was crucial to halting a resurgence in PCP use in the District.
“It is a drug that has haunted the District of Columbia in the past,” Taylor said. “In the late ’80s, more than 40 percent of people arrested in the District tested positive for PCP. The message today is that we will not let that drug back into the city.”
Special Agent Jennifer Smith-Love, head of the criminal division in the FBI’s Washington field office, said PCP is of particular concern to law enforcement officials. “It is considered one of the more dangerous drugs of abuse because it acts as a hallucinogen, a stimulant, a depressant and an anesthetic all at the same time,” she said.
Investigators familiar with the District drug trade said a street-level dealer can buy an ounce of PCP for several hundred dollars and then sell as many as 70 dippers for $10 to $25 each.
The seizure of more than five gallons of PCP, with an estimated street value approaching $1 million, was a substantial blow to the area supply, officials and investigators said.
Twenty-six people were charged in the two indictments announced yesterday. Taylor said the investigation had targeted the middle and upper levels of the distribution network.
Maximum sentences faced by various defendants, if convicted, range from 10 years to life.
A 76-page affidavit filed by the FBI describes the workings of a drug distribution operation allegedly controlled by Glover, 45, of Temple Hills, and Anthony Suggs, 39, of Upper Marlboro.
In many conversations recounted in the affidavit, the targets speak in what a federal agent says is code. But when Glover is in his vehicle, he talks openly about his plans to go to Florida to arrange a purchase of 20 to 30 kilograms of cocaine, according to the affidavit.