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Investigator for Public Defender's office faces drug charges

September 04, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

An investigator with the Washington County Public Defender's office was charged Wednesday with illegal drug possession after he allegedly bought crack cocaine from an undercover drug agent, according to court records.

Bruce Scott Gilbert, 33, of 706 S. Samuel St., Charles Town, W.Va., was charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. He was released on personal recognizance, Washington County District Court records said.

On Tuesday, Washington County Narcotics Task Force agents charged Ruki Kareem Medley with attempted distribution of illegal drugs. Medley, 25, of Hagerstown, was released Wednesday after posting $75,000 bond.

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A search turned up a large amount of crack cocaine and a Capital One Master credit card in the name of Bruce Gilbert, court records said.

An investigation indicated that Medley obtained the credit card as a result of a drug transaction that allegedly involved Gilbert, court records said.

Narcotics task force agents contacted the local office of the Drug Enforcement Administration and an undercover agent called Gilbert concerning the credit card and the possibility that Gilbert owed a debt from an alleged drug transaction.

During the phone conversation, Gilbert said he would like his credit card back and that he was owed $75 as a result of a drug transaction, court records alleged.

The two agreed to meet Wednesday in a Hagerstown parking lot, court records said.

At that meeting, the undercover agent allegedly gave Gilbert a one-gram piece of crack and his credit card at 2:52 p.m., court records said.

At 2:58 p.m., agents moved in and arrested Gilbert. Crack cocaine was found on the floor of Gilbert's pickup truck, according to allegations in court records.

Michael Morrissette, who heads the local public defender's office, confirmed that Gilbert was an employee of that office.

Ron Karasic, deputy Maryland public defender in Baltimore, said Gilbert is an investigator but he wouldn't say how long Gilbert had been employed with the department. Karasic refused to comment on Gilbert's job status, saying that was a personnel matter and not public record.

Gilbert could not be reached for comment.

Investigators in the public defender's office work with attorneys in the preparation of cases and interview clients charged with crimes.

Conviction on a drug possession charge carries a penalty of up to four years in prison. Maximum penalty for a conviction on a drug paraphernalia possession charge is a fine of $500.

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