Governor Hogan joins police and his daughter Assistant States Attorney Jaymi Sterling for the announcement of murder and manslaughter charges against alleged drug dealers at fault for six deaths
Fritz plans to run for the sixth time with the anti-drug campaign; his first time playing that tune was 24 years ago
Commentary on the News
By Kenneth C. Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
LEONARDTOWN, MD. — As politicians from President Donald J. Trump to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan take to the airwaves to project their active response to the surge of junkies and newly addicted pain pill poppers taking the final dive; officials will gather on Aug. 9, in the historic old Circuit Courthouse in St. Mary’s County to announce the indictments of six alleged drug dealers for causing the death of six people who died of overdoses.
Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. William Pallozzi joins his boss, Gov. Hogan and State Police investigators with St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron and States Attorney Richard Fritz at a press conference.
Fritz recently announced that he will run his campaign for sixth term that he will focus on drug dealers, which with the overdose death rate running to crisis proportions has some observers wondering why he doesn’t just admit he has failed and move aside to allow one of his aggressive prosecutors such as Assistant States Attorney Jaymi Sterling, to move up into the job with fresh energy and hopefully be far more effective.
Sterling had made no secret of her intention to run for States Attorney in 2018 and with Deputy States Attorney Joe Stanalonis a sure pick for the soon-to-be-vacant Circuit Court Judgeship which will be vacated by the retirement of baby-boomer Karen Abrams, who is too old to continue on the bench, the time is ripe for a change. Sterling is the daughter of Gov. Hogan. If Sterling throws her hat in the ring to run against Fritz, it wouldn’t be the first time an assistant prosecutor ran against the boss.
In 1994, Fritz, who quit his post as Deputy States Attorney after States Attorney Walter Dorsey demanded a full accounting of drug funds by Fritz, ran in the Democratic Primary against Dorsey. Also in that race was Assistant States Attorney Joseph A. Mattingly Jr. Dorsey beat both his proteges. Fritz went on to beat Mattingly in 1998 after switching to Republican while Dorsey suddenly announced on the last day to file for the office he would retire. Sterling married into a large St. Mary’s family and enjoys strong support from the legions of voters in the county who gave her father a large margin of victory in 2014. Fritz has always lagged behind with female voters, losing the Circuit Court Judgeship in 2004 to Judge Abrams.
Fritz’s record on locking up drug dealers is fraught with dropped charges and easy plea deals, and his apparent lock on the prosecutor’s office could be picked clean by Sterling who has inherited her father’s political ability.
Fritz’s record on locking up drug dealers is fraught with dropped charges and easy plea deals, and his apparent lock on the prosecutor’s office could be picked clean by Sterling who has inherited her father’s political ability. Hogan’s appearance at a major heroin announcement in St. Mary’s County where his daughter is a key prosecutor is a father-daughter political tag-team never before seen. It might be a glimpse of what could be next year if Fritz goes ahead with his plans to hang onto his job for another term.
Fritz has never been known to be graceful in awkward moments such as the time he was interviewed by Chris Wallace on ABC’s 2020 regarding a woman’s claim that he and two other young men gang-raped her.
As the press conference will be televised, many viewers might be watching Fritz, Sterling and Gov. Hogan closely to see if all the backslapping mixed with solemn pronouncements of prosecutions has a few doses of political moves or even if long knives are drawn.
Politics can be as deadly as heroin overdoses.
HEROIN HIGHWAY TO HELL: Accused Drug Dealers Charged with Second Degree Murder, Manslaughter, and Reckless Endangerment
Christina Granados McCauley, of 42228 Breton Bay Farm Road, Leonardtown, Md., was indicted by a St. Mary’s County Grand Jury on Aug. 2, 2017, and the charges were posted on the court website on Aug. 8, 2017, a few hours prior to the press conference attended by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan with Fritz and St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron. Distribution and possession of heroin charges were previously placed, and a court hearing is set for Dec. 12, 2017.
Junkie Christina McCauley busted for raising pot has left a trail of deals with prosecutors for heroin DUI raps
LEONARDTOWN, MD. – Who’s cooking up that pot brew on Breton Bay Farm? Christina McCauley wasn’t driving under the influence of heroin on Maryland highways this time, but give her a few days. This time when arrested she was sitting at home and minding her own business, that of raising weed and the crop is about ready to harvest.
Maryland State Police report that a foray in pursuit of a tip found the crop being raised on a St. Mary’s County farm weren’t prized pumpkins or even sunflowers, but $11,000 worth of ‘whacky tobaccy’ in an area where tobacco used to be the cash crop.
Investigators from the Maryland State Police, Criminal Enforcement Division-Central South Region, received information that Christina Granados McCauley, 57, of 42238 Breton Beach Road, Leonardtown, Md., was manufacturing marijuana at her Leonardtown residence.
Police report that on September 28, 2016, investigators from Central South Region made contact with McCauley at her home on the farm which overlooks Breton Bay. Investigators located and seized several suspected marijuana plants, a street value of approximately $11,000.00.
After screening the investigation with Richard Fritz, States Attorney for St. Mary’s County, investigators applied for a criminal summons, charging McCauley with manufacturing and possession of CDS.
On October 10, 2016, Christina McCauley was charged by Maryland State Police Trooper Meurrens on a criminal summons for the manufacturing and possession of marijuana. By being charged on a summons, McCauley avoided being booked into jail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for McCauley in District Court on November 11, 2016.
Charged with multiple traffic charges on Sept. 12, 2014, by a Maryland State Trooper, McCauley entered into a plea deal with Fritz in St. Mary’s District Court. A charge against her for driving close to another vehicle than prudent was put on the Stet Docket on Nov. 7, 2014, by Fritz along with a payment of a fine of $110.00. The fine on a charge of failure to control speed to avoid a collision was dealt with a fine of $130.00. McCauley was operating a 2006 Toyota with a vanity license plate emblazoned with the letters FATHEN. A charge, also stemming from the same incident as the previous charges, of negligent driving and endangering life and person, at the location of Rt. 5 northbound at Birch Manor Road near Mechanicsville, ended with a plea deal with Fritz who put the charge on the Stet Docket with a fine of $140.00.
Three traffic charges of dangerous and reckless driving issued by a Maryland State Trooper to McCauley while she was operating a 1997 Pontiac with the FATHEN tag on the vehicle on Rt. 205 at Shagle Road in Charles County ended with a plea deal in Charles County District Court on Dec. 29, 2014 when Charles County States Attorney Anthony Covington accepted a guilty plea in exchange for Probation Before Judgement and a fine of $74.50.
McCauley was charged with possession of heroin and paraphernalia by Maryland State Trooper Sorenson after a crash near Leonardtown on July 2, 2009. On March 23, 2010, Fritz accepted a plea of guilty in a deal that gave her six months in jail with all six months suspended. Also, she paid a fine of $142.50. She was represented by attorney John A. Adams of Waldorf.
McCauley was arrested for DUI while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance (heroin) on June 30, 2009, by a Maryland State Trooper at 12:45 pm on Rt. 228 and Rt. 301 in Waldorf, Md. Charles County States Attorney Covington dumped the two counts of DUI-drugs in a plea deal with no time and no fine.
McCauley was charged with DUI while impaired by drugs on June 28, 2009, at 1:35 pm by St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Deputy Timothy Snyder at the intersection of Rt. 5 and Clark’s Rest Road south of Leonardtown. She nearly hit the deputy head-on while driving a pickup. Deputy Snyder reported that she kept falling asleep while he interviewed her following getting her stopped. Pills and heroin were found in her truck. She entered into a plea deal on Nov. 18, 2009, with Fritz who let her off with one year in jail and all but one day suspended, along with a fine of $242.50. Fritz has been campaigning for years on a strong law and order platform, bragging that his actions send drug dealers to jail and cleans up the streets of drugs
ALSO CHARGED WITH MURDER, MANSLAUGHTER WHILE
DEALING DEATH WITH HEROIN:
Marcell Davon Blackiston
Geoffrey Uhall, of 45501 Bethson Street, California, Md., is represented by Waldorf attorney James Farmer following his indictment by States Attorney Richard Fritz and a St. Mary’s County Grand Jury on Aug. 2, 2017. Charges: reckless endangerment, manslaughter, second-degree murder, distribution of heroin, possession of drugs other than marijuana. Court records show that the charges are related to offenses that occurred on April 19, 2017.
Geoffrey Uhall, 30, is accused of selling heroin to Colleen Cord in April of 2017. The Lexington Park woman later died from an overdose. Uhall is accused of selling heroin laced with Fentanyl to Cord, which contributed to her death. Uhall is being held without bond.
Tyreise Divron Nelson, of 20710 Wolftrap Road, Lexington Park, Md., was indicted by States Attorney Richard Fritz with the Grand Jury on Aug. 2, 2017. Charges: reckless endangerment, manslaughter, second-degree murder along with the distribution of drugs which was alleged to have taken place on June 5, 2017, resulting in the death of a person.
Tyreise Divron Nelson, (DOB 12/12/1992) of 20710 Wolftrap Road, Lexington Park, Md., was indicted by the St. Mary’s County Grand Jury following a presentation of evidence by St. Mary’s County States Attorney Richard Fritz on Aug. 2, 2017. The counts issued by the Grand Jury were reckless endangerment, manslaughter, second-degree murder along with the distribution of drugs which was alleged to have taken place on June 5, 2017, resulting in the death of a person.
Nelson is charged with the death of Jonathan David Elkins.
Jonathan David Elkins, died of a drug overdose after police say Tyreise Nelson sold him heroin on June 5, 2017.
In a plea deal in St. Mary’s County Circuit Court on Feb. 9, 2018, Nelson entered a plea of guilty via an Alford Plea in which he conceded the prosecution had enough evidence to likely convince a jury to convict him of felony manslaughter. THE DEAL: Fritz dropped the charge of felony second-degree murder, distribution of heroin and possession of heroin, and reckless endangerment. Nelson was given a sentence of ten years in prison with all of the prison time suspended except for 570 days. Nelson was put on supervised probation for five years.
Tyreise Nelson was arrested for theft by St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department Deputy Latisha Baker on Nov. 2, 2019 and the charges were dropped by Fritz on Feb. 13, 2020.
From the obituary, Jon is a 2005 graduate of Leonardtown High School. He was previously employed by the Lexington Park Ford Lincoln. For the past year, he has been employed as a Union Laborer at Kiewit Corporation Local 11.
UPDATE: Nelson did only 18 months in slammer for killing Jonathan Elkins
Nelson is charged with the death of Jonathan David Elkins. Jonathan David Elkins, 29, of Lexington Park, MD passed away on June 5, 2017, at his home.
From obituary; Jon is a 2005 graduate of Leonardtown High School. He was previously employed as a car dealer at Lexington Park Ford Lincoln. For the past year, he has been employed as a Union Laborer at Kiewit Corporation Local 11.
Regina Malvalee Claggett-Brown, of 45718 Church Drive #301, Great Mills, Md., was indicted by the St. Mary’s County Circuit Court Grand Jury at the direction of States Attorney Richard Fritz on May 4, 2017. Claggett-Brown is also charged with manslaughter, second-degree murder, possession and distribution of heroin and reckless endangerment that ended a life on Oct. 8, 2016. Matthew Connell, a taxpayer-provided attorney represents her with trial set for Sept. 19, 2017. Detective Pesante of the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department investigated the alleged crimes.
Claggett-Brown, who also lived in McDaniel, Md., near Easton on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, at the time of her arrest on May 23, 2017, on a warrant from St. Mary’s County. Claggett-Brown was charged with distributing oxycodone and heroin to and causing the death of Paul Francis Baxter Jr., of Chesapeake Beach, Md. Prosecutors alleged that Baxter went to Lexington Park from Calvert County to buy drugs. After snorting heroin to celebrate the transaction, Baxter keeled over and was pronounced DOA when arriving at a hospital.
Latece Cantelle Greer, of 45993 Great Mills Court, Apt. 317a was indicted by the St. Mary’s Grand Jury on Nov. 7, 2017, on charges of distribution of heroin. In a plea deal with St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz in Circuit Court on May 9, 2017, Greer entered a guilty plea. THE DEAL: Greer was sentenced to prison for 20 years with 10 years suspended, credit is given for 173 days of time served and 5 years of probation.
Mark Steven Garner II, currently in the Calvert County Jail, was charged by an indictment issued by the St. Mary’s County Grand Jury with reckless endangerment, conspiracy to distribute drugs, manslaughter, and second-degree depraved-heart murder. The offenses which Garner is charged with took place on Aug. 31, 2016, and resulted in the death of Barbara Sneden. Capt. Daniel Alioto, the commander of the Narco Squad of Sheriff Tim Cameron, reports that on August 31, 2016, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office deputies and detectives from the Criminal Investigation Division responded to the 911 call for a possible overdose at a location in California, Maryland. Barbara Ann Sneden, 31, was found unresponsive and pronounced deceased. MORE ON MURDER OF SNEDEN
Garner was indicted for drug dealing by the Calvert County Grand Jury on March 16, 2009. In a plea deal with Calvert States Attorney Laura Martin, Garner entered a guilty plea on August 6, 2009, and arranged for four years and six months in jail. All of the jail time except for THREE DAYS was suspended, meaning the tough-talking Republican States Attorney let this drug dealer off all his time except those three long days. Court records show that he violated his probation on March 27, 2011, with a warrant issued for his arrest.
Desmond Lamar Sloan
There Needs to Be Compassion and Care:’ Mother Who Lost Son to Opioid Addiction Grieves in St. Mary’s County
From NBC 4:
Bryant Lawson seemed to have recovered. He joined the Navy. For a while, his mother said, life seemed all better.
It only took one injury to send Lawson spiraling back down into his six-year battle with opioid addiction. He was prescribed pain medicine for an injury, and later, he was found dead with a loaded syringe lying on the sink next to him.
Now his mother, Donna French, is left with memories, both of her son and the ruthless addiction that took him away from her.
It’s been one year since Lawson’s death. French said his dealer was never arrested. MORE
Drug Distribution Indictments Criminal Information and Charges in St. Mary’s Circuit Court
Anglo Bartholomew of 39211 Syringa Court, Mechanicsville, Md., on July 13, 2017, Indictment by States Attorney Richard Fritz. Charges: possession of drugs other than marijuana, possession of drugs with intent to distribute. Hearing set for Aug. 24, 2017.
Thomas Austin Goldring, incarcerated in Maryland State Prison, Baltimore, Md., Indictment by States Attorney Richard Fritz on May 4, 2017. Charges date from March 22, 2017; possession not marijuana, assault, possession of drugs with intent to distribute. Taxpayer provided free attorney Eric Owen Sullivan represents Goldring. Police Officers involved in the investigation: St. Mary’s Deputies Labanowski, McClure, Whipkey, Meyer, and Moses.
Russell Allen Randall, 2571 Treetop Road, Lexington Park, Md., Indicted by St. Mary’s County Grand Jury with States Attorney Richard Fritz on April 11, 2017. Two taxpayer-provided defense attorneys represent Randall: Cynthia Settien Panos and Ryan McDonagh Posey. Charges investigated by Deputies Godwin, Whipkey, Meyer, and Moses: possession of drugs other than marijuana and distribution of drugs from an offense on Feb. 9, 2017.
Antonio Wendell Chase, incarcerated in the St. Mary’s County Jail in Leonardtown, Md., was represented by La Plata attorney Hammad Shaikh Matin when he was Indicted by States Attorney Richard Fritz and a Circuit Court Grand Jury on April 11, 2017, after an investigation by St. Mary’s Deputies Pesante, Whipkey, Godwin, Meyer, and Moses. Charges: possession of drugs other than marijuana. Court records show that after Discovery of evidence was provided to the defense attorneys that Fritz dropped the charges on July 14, 2017. Common reasons for dropping charges include a police officer being found planting evidence, as in Baltimore City; evidence being lost while in police custody; the defendant rolling over on his fellow drug dealers and providing bigger fish to prosecutors in a deal made by his high-powered criminal defense attorney paid for from his own funds rather than relying on the taxpayer-provided public defenders.
Javon Lyzell Dickens, 27, of 17558 Piney Point Road, Piney Point, Md., was indicted by the St. Mary’s County Grand Jury on July 5, 2017, at the direction of St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz. Dickens hired Maryland Senate President Thomas E. “Mike” Miller as his attorney to fight the charges of possession and distribution of drugs.
Joseph Lee Tapponier, of 22510 Sotterly Road, Hollywood, Md., is represented by Leonardtown attorney Dan Slade, who enjoys a reputation for springing his clients with little or no jail time by wheeling and dealing with States Attorney Fritz. Charges were brought against Tapponier for alleged offenses that took place on Feb. 2, 2017. Charges: possession of more than 10 grams of
marijuana and possession of drugs with the intent to distribute. A jury trial is set for Aug. 31, 2017, in St. Mary’s Circuit Court.
Joseph Tyrone Holton, of 40420 Parsons Mill Road, Leonardtown, Md., was indicted on drug possession and distribution charges by the St. Mary’s County Grand Jury on April 11, 2017. Deputies Tirpak, Labanowski, Pesante, Meyer, Moses, and Whipkey were involved in the original offense which court records show took place on Jan. 28, 2017. Suitland attorney, Joseph Vallario Jr., represents Holt with a jury trial set for Aug. 31, 2017.
Wilfredo Vasquez, 59, of 22100 Point Lookout Road, Leonardtown, Md., was indicted by the St. Mary’s County Grand Jury on July 11, 2017, for distribution and possession of drugs. The charges are related to alleged offenses which took place on Feb. 22, 2017, and trial are set for Nov. 8, 2017.
James Richard Nelson Jr., of 21091 Jenna Court, Lexington Park, Md., was indicted by the St. Mary’s County Circuit Court Grand Jury on July 13, 2017, with charges of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, possession of a firearm by a restricted person and use of a gun in a drug trafficking crime. The indictment is based on allegations of offenses which took place on Jan. 17, 2017. A hearing is set for Aug. 24, 2017.
JUNKIES ARE DROPPING LIKE FLIES AS THEY VOLUNTARILY TAKE DANGEROUS DRUGS IN ST. MARY’S COUNTY
2017 Overdose Deaths
St. Mary’s racks up first carfentanil death
Carfentanil and Other Drugs in Disguise
LEONARDTOWN, MD – The St. Mary’s County Health Department reported on July 3, 2017, that St. Mary’s County continues to experience a tragic and deadly opioid drug epidemic. Opioid drug intoxication deaths in the county have involved prescription opioids, heroin, fentanyl, and now carfentanil. Most St. Mary’s County opioid related drug intoxication deaths thus far in the calendar year 2017 have involved fentanyl.
The first drug intoxication fatality related to carfentanil in St. Mary’s County was identified in June 2017. To date, there have been 35 confirmed drug intoxication deaths related to carfentanil in Maryland. Carfentanil has been traditionally utilized as a tranquilizer for large animals (e.g., elephants) and is about 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself is several times more potent than heroin and morphine. Even very tiny amounts of fentanyl and carfentanil can cause a person to die.
Naloxone (“Narcan”) may help reverse the breathing problem that an opioid overdose creates and can save a person’s life. However, sometimes even multiple doses of naloxone are not enough to save the life of a person overdosing on opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil.
Fentanyl or carfentanil may be lacing drugs that are sold on the street as heroin or other drugs. Counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl or carfentanil have also been identified in Maryland communities. Sometimes drug sellers and drug buyers may not be aware that the drugs they are dealing with contain these very lethal opioid drugs of fentanyl or carfentanil.
U-47700 is another synthetic opioid drug that has been associated with less than 20 fatalities in Maryland thus far. It is also known as “Pink” or “U4” and has been identified as being far more potent than morphine. As with fentanyl and carfentanil, U-47700 may be disguised in drugs sold on the street as heroin, fentanyl, or prescription opioids.
Prescription drugs should only be used when medically prescribed to you and when dispensed by a state licensed pharmacist. Drugs obtained on the street or the internet, even those sold as prescription drugs, may be laced with incredibly lethal opioids such as fentanyl, carfentanil, and U-47700.
The health department urges anyone using opioid drugs for non-medical purposes and anyone concerned about their drug use to seek an immediate medical assessment. Effective treatment is available and can restore your life. Get you or your loved one the help they need from a substance use treatment provider.
Learn more and get help to find a treatment provider at www.smchd.org/opioid or by calling (301) 475-4330.