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Two taken into custody following incident in Big Slackwater

May 19, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

Two men who had been behaving suspiciously in the Big Slackwater picnic area off Dam No. 4 Road were taken into custody Friday after the National Park Service and local law enforcement agencies conducted a search for them, district ranger Leigh Zahm said.

Maryland State Police took the men into custody and transferred them to National Park Service officials, Zahm said. A loaded firearm and a "significant amount of what we believe to be crack cocaine" were found in the area, he said.

The Hagerstown Police Department has a warrant out for one of the men on charges of drug distribution, Zahm said.

Zahm would not release the names of the men, but said he expected the two - a white adult male and a black adult male - to appear before a federal judge in Baltimore on Monday.

A U.S. park ranger encountered the two men Friday about 10:30 a.m. He asked for identification, and as he was checking the information, the two men left in a vehicle driven by a third man, Zahm said.

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The vehicle stopped before it left park property, and the two men fled on foot, he said.

The third man drove off, but returned several hours later of his own accord and was being detained Friday afternoon, Zahm said.

Officers brought a search dog to the scene. An early search turned up a loaded firearm and drugs, possibly cocaine, Zahm said.

Park Rangers and Natural Resources Police armed themselves as they prepared to do a sweep search of the Dam No. 4 Road area Friday afternoon.

Maryland State Police, Washington County Sheriff's Department deputies and the Hagerstown Police Department all assisted at the scene, Zahm said.

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