16 caught in city drug sting

October 17, 1997


Staff Writer

Police from five agencies staged a massive sting in Hagerstown on Thursday, charging 16 people on drug-related offenses - the most drug arrests on any single day in Washington County this year.

In all, 32 law enforcement officers, from the Hagerstown and Frederick police departments, the Maryland State Police, the Washington County Sheriff's Department and the Washington County Narcotics Task Force, participated in the 12-hour operation.

Beginning at 11 a.m., undercover officers targeted dealers in the Westview housing complex, the Jonathan Street area and other drug-infested neighborhoods, said Sgt. Charles Summers, who commands the NTF.


Officers charged five adults and two juveniles with distribution of crack cocaine and other offenses in that part of the operation, he said.

In the second phase, undercover officers posing as drug dealers arrested nine people who allegedly bought fake drugs, which is a crime.

One woman was also arrested in connection with sex offenses.

Summers said the authorities conducted the "reverse" operation in order to crack down on buyers and "put some fear in their hearts."

The task force normally concentrates on building cases against big-time drug dealers. But he said it is important to attack open-air drug markets from time to time.

"It's something that we felt we needed to do," he said. "We usually go after the individuals that are causing the violence and making a real living. (But) we have to try to convince people who are out there buying it and keeping these people in business."

When officials conceived of the operation, they had to spend a great deal of time coordinating it, Summers said.

In addition to the police officers involved, Summers said officials alerted the staff at the Washington County Detention Center.

Also a Washington County District Court bond commissioner worked a special midnight to 8 a.m. shift to process the suspects.

Although he termed the operation successful, Summers said it is extremely time-consuming and expensive.

"That is a significant amount of personnel hours devoted to an operation like this. That's why we can't muster one of these every day," he said. "It was a well-planned, well-executed operation."

Summers said the volume of arrests demonstrates Hagerstown's drug problem.

"If we had had the manpower and time we could have easily doubled that number," he said. "There are a lot of people willing to sell in Hagerstown right now. And unfortunately, there's also a lot of people willing to buy."

Summers said it is too soon to tell what effect, if any, Thursday's operation will have on the city's drug areas. The drug business has been booming this year, though, he said.

Summers said the drug task force has initiated about 220 cases so far in 1997, up from last year's record number of 196. While agents routinely arrest large numbers of suspects when they execute warrants, Summers said an operation like Thursday's is uncommon.

But he said it will not be the last.

"We intend to do a lot more over and over and over again until there's no more left to do," he said.

The following were charged with distribution of crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine, conspiracy and possession of drug paraphernalia:

  • Troy L. Barrington, 18, of 42 N. Mulberry Street. His bond was set at $35,000.
  • John Lungi Fiffie, 28, of no fixed address. His bond was set at $50,000.
  • Quincy Dexter White, 24, of 103 E. Washington St. His bond was set at $35,000.
  • Damon Levar Boyce, 20, of 53 Elizabeth St. Bond was set at $35,000.
  • Two juveniles, whose names were withheld because of their ages.
  •  Terry L. Fulton, 20, of 4178 Southland Road, Apartment 201 in Southland, Md. was charged with all of the above charges except conspiracy. Bond was set at $50,000.

The following nine people were charged with possession/purchase of a non-controlled dangerous substance after they allegedly approached undercover police officers:

  • Theodore Peter Noll, 39, of 16548 Conovale Dr., Greencastle, Pa.
  • Walter Austin Carter, 32, of 61 W. Franklin St., Apt.14.
  • Sandra Dee Knight, 39, of Room 421, the Venice Inn.
  • Clifford Eugene Mock, 34, of 41 W. Bethel St.
  • Roger Lee Ritchey, 36, of 157 Midway Court in Falling Waters, W.Va.
  • Richard Leon Carter, 31, of 255 Bethel Grange Road, Winchester, Va.
  •  Shannon Noel Cotton, 25, of 55 S. Potomac St.
  • Daniel Allen Corbin, 32, of 234 East Ave.
  • Tyrone Lee Barger, 28, of 617 N. Mulberry St. in Hagerstown.

In addition, officers came in contact with a Williamsport woman who was allegedly engaged in exchanging sex for money.

  • Elaine Whalen, 39, of 11437 Kemps Mill Road, was charged with assignation, indecent exposure, fourth-degree sexual assault, second-degree assault and possession of drug paraphernalia.

    It was the second arrest this month for Whalen. On Oct. 4, she was charged with engaging in prostitution, police said.

    Her bond was set at $500.

All others who weren't held on bond were released on personal recognizance.

- Brendan Kirby

The Herald-Mail Articles