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Police raid Charles Town park, arrest 16

August 23, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Fifteen people were arraigned on crack cocaine charges in a federal courtroom in Martinsburg on Monday after a drug sweep at a Charles Town, W.Va., park on Friday.

A 3 1/2-month investigation into suspected drug activity at Evitts Run Park came to a head just before 4 p.m. Friday when 45 state and federal police officers ringed the park, Charles Town Police Chief Mike Aldridge said.

With a federal Drug Enforcement Administration helicopter circling overhead, police swept through the park and arrested 14 people named in a federal indictment charging them with distribution of crack cocaine, Aldridge said.

No one ran from police and all of the arrests were made without resistance, Aldridge said.

"I don't think they had any place to run," he said.

One of the men named in the indictment who was not arrested in the sweep turned himself in to police Saturday, Aldridge said.

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Aldridge, a former DEA agent, said he and Ranson Police Chief William Roper asked for federal help in February to shut down what they believed was an open-air drug market being run at a park five blocks from the Charles Town Police Department.

"This was based on information we had received and what we were seeing going on in the park," Aldridge said.

Eric Boyd, Maurice Bush, Ian Carr, Arthur Doakes, Nathaniel Downing, Leonard Gilmore, Elnasto Gonzalez, Michael Hughes, Clifton Johnson, Diondrea Lee, Michael Luckett, Michael McDaniel, Anthony Morris, Michael Pipher and Sainty Turner were all arraigned on crack cocaine distribution charges Monday in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg, Aldridge said. He did not have the addresses of the defendants.

All of the defendants are from the Charles Town and Ranson area except for Lee, who is from Baltimore, Aldridge said.

Friday's drug sweep recovered only a small amount of drugs and less than $1,000 in cash, but Aldridge said the arrests sent a clear message that police will not tolerate drug deals.

"We are doing what we can to shut down the open-air drug markets," Aldridge said.

Aldridge would not say if everyone named in the sealed federal indictment had been arrested but said more arrests and indictments were expected.

Two of the people arrested in the park sweep were not named in the indictment but were charged with state drug and weapons violations, Aldridge said.

Delante A. Roper of Richmond, Va., was arraigned Monday in Jefferson County Magistrate Court on charges of marijuana possession and possession of crack cocaine with the intent to sell, Aldridge said.

Lynn W. Campbell of Winchester, Va., was arraigned in magistrate court on charges of marijuana possession and possession of a deadly weapon.

Four others detained in the sweep, including one juvenile, were released by police, Aldridge said.

The drug sweep was conducted by police officers from the DEA Mobile Enforcement Team, the Charles Town Police Department, the Ranson Police Department, the Harpers Ferry Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, the West Virginia State Police detachment in Charles Town, a Loudoun County (Va.) Sheriff's Office K-9 unit, the U.S. Marshal's Office and a Berkeley County Deputy Reserve Unit.

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