August 2012 Archives

Are Maryland DUI Checkpoints Effective?

August 28, 2012

714566_light_1.jpgHoward County police recently set up a DUI checkpoint on Maryland Route 1. The checkpoint, which was located in North Laurel, began in the late evening on Friday night and extended into the early morning hours of Saturday. Police chose the location after examining DUI arrest data and traffic accident data where alcohol was involved. Howard County police did not release the exact hours of the DUI checkpoint, or how many officers were involved in the operation, but typical DUI checkpoints last roughly 6 hours and involve at least 10 police officers. Howard County did release the statistics of how many cars were stopped and how many arrests were made. In total, the DUI checkpoint resulted in 690 vehicles being stopped, and a total of 5 people being arrested. Of the 5 arrests, two were for driving on a suspended license, and 3 arrests were for DUI. One of the suspects arrested for DUI was 18 years old, and was also charged with a separate alcohol charge of underage drinking.

Howard County police reported that other drivers displayed signs of alcohol consumption, but these drivers were not arrested because they did not meet the legal criteria for impairment. Police officers distributed literature on the dangers of drinking and driving to all drivers that passed through the DUI checkpoint. DUI checkpoints are scheduled a few times per year in Howard County. Typically police will schedule a DUI checkpoint during times where alcohol consumption is higher than normal, such as during St. Patrick's Day and on the Fourth of July. This most recent checkpoint was scheduled after the Fourth of July DUI checkpoint was called off due to rain. Other Maryland jurisdictions such as Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County schedule DUI checkpoints as well, but Howard County holds DUI checkpoints with greater regularity.

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Feds Crackdown On Marijuana Dispensaries

August 22, 2012

407664_vancouver_hemp_rally_1_jpg.jpgThe ongoing battle marijuana to legalize marijuana in America and in Maryland took another hit recently as Federal prosecutors have increased efforts to crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries. This latest crackdown effort came at the hands of Federal lawyers and court papers rather than with the search warrants and guns of the DEA and FBI. No arrests were made in any of the latest anti marijuana push, but a strong message has been sent across the country that the Feds are not ready to reverse their position on marijuana legalization.

On August 21 Federal prosecutors filed 3 lawsuits in Orange County Florida against property owners who rent their real estate to medical marijuana dispensaries. The property owners were told that they could risk forfeiture of their real estate if they continue to rent space to the marijuana dispensaries. Federal prosecuting lawyers also sent upwards of 60 letters to medical marijuana clinics in Orange County threatening criminal charges if the marijuana clinics continue to sell the drug. Orange County is not the only area being targeted by the Federal efforts to crackdown on medical marijuana as the Feds have been going after marijuana dispensaries throughout the Central District of California.

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Seeing Double: Maryland Man Arrested For DUI Twice In One Night

August 16, 2012

75579_drunk_driving.jpgTalk about a rough night. A southern Maryland man was recently arrested for DUI and multiple other traffic offenses. Police came in contact with the man after he was pulled over for unsafe lane changing. Upon contacting the man, the Maryland State Trooper noticed the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the driver's breath. After conducting a DUI investigation, the trooper arrested the man and charged him with DUI, negligent driving, and unsafe lane change. The driver was also given a breathalyzer test at the police station, where his blood alcohol content registered .15, nearly twice the legal limit. A DUI arrest and multiple traffic tickets would certainly have ruined anyone's evening, but the southern Maryland man's night was far from over at this point.

The man was arrested at about 2 a.m. and taken to the police station in St. Mary's County, Maryland. Rather than holding the man overnight, police were kind enough to release the man on his own recognizance less than two hours later. No bail bond was necessary, and police did not wait for the man to sober up, but rather allowed him to call for a sober driver to pick him up. It is unclear whether the man actually got a ride from the police station or if he simply walked home, but the man's car was still in the tow lot at the time he was released from the Maryland police station. Here is where the southern Maryland man's night went from bad to historically awful. At about 4 a.m. the same Maryland State Trooper was called to perform a DUI investigation in a shopping center parking lot, which was the exact scene where he had just arrested the man for DUI 2 hours before. Unbeknownst to the trooper at the time of the call, the suspect turned out to be the same man that the trooper had just arrested. When the trooper arrived to the shopping center he discovered that the same man he had just arrested was driving a different car, and was slightly less intoxicated, but still well over the legal limit of .08. The southern Maryland man was arrested yet again for DUI, and this time blew a .11 on the breathalyzer machine.

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Maryland Man Arrested In Major Annapolis Drug Bust

August 13, 2012

1377964_tightened_100_dollar_roll_.jpgAnnapolis police have arrested a 19 year old Maryland man in one of the largest drug busts in Anne Arundel County this year. Police received tips from community sources, as well as their own investigations in order to secure a search warrant that ultimately led to the seizure of nearly $30,000 worth of heroin, stacks of cash, and marijuana. Police also seized two handguns from the Maryland man's house. Closer examination of the guns back at the Annapolis police department revealed that the firearms, a 9mm Beretta and a Smith and Wesson, were in fact stolen. Police did not reveal how much marijuana was seized from the Maryland residence, but closer inspection of the heroin revealed 140 grams of high grade heroin packaged for sale. Annapolis police are still investigating possible sources of the heroin. At the current time, police have not arrested a supplier, but more arrests stemming from this bust could be imminent. The Maryland man was arrested on 5 separate CDS drug counts including narcotics possession, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bail was set at $40,000, which was posted soon after the arrest.

In the last few years, there has been a decline in the overall crime levels in Maryland's capital city of Annapolis, especially in the rate of violent crimes such as assault and robbery. But Annapolis cops and other police forces in Maryland such as the Baltimore police department are still seeing evidence that drug use and drug dealing is not going through the same decline. Police use their own arrest data, as well as available date from external sources such as hospital admissions for drug overdoses, to conclude as the Annapolis police department's spokesman did after this drug bust was made public "that the war on drugs is far from over".

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Maryland Marijuana Grower Arrested

August 6, 2012

48715_marijuana_plants_growing_outdo.jpgA Maryland man was arrested for multiple drug charges after police used a search warrant to raid his Ann Arundel County home. Ann Arundel police executed the search warrant and discovered approximately 46 marijuana plants, which ranged from 5 to 6 feet tall. Police did not release the exact details of what led them to the 53 year old man's home, but police did say that residents of the neighborhood had voiced to concerns to cops about possible drug activity going on in the house. According to police, the Maryland man was arrested for 9 drug charges including manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of marijuana. Manufacturing marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute are both felonies, while possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor. Police did not indicate whether they had any concrete evidence that the Maryland homeowner was actually dealing drugs, or if the marijuana grow operation was simply for personal use. According to police, the marijuana would eventually have a street value of over 50 thousand dollars once the marijuana was harvested.

Police also found over 20 firearms inside the home upon execution of their search warrant. The firearms, which included handguns, shotguns, and rifles were being kept by Ann Arundel police as evidence, although there is no indication that the guns were illegally owned or possessed. Police did say that the ATF was going to be called in to further investigate the collection of firearms. At the time of this article, the man has not been charged with any firearm, gun, or weapons crimes, and it appears that further criminal charges for weapons possession is unlikely. The guns were legally located within the Maryland man's home, and did not appear to be stolen. Police commented that the number of guns in the home was alarming, although there is no evidence that the man ever brought the guns outside of his home, or used any of the firearms in connection with any sort of crime.

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