Traffic stop leads to big bust for Md. rookie
By MELISSA HARRIS
Officer David Aronovic said that he was running license plate numbers through a computer database in his patrol car around 11:45 p.m. Wednesday in Jessup when the registration on Chester Griffiths' 1995 Jeep Cherokee popped up as suspended.
The seizure was the second major drug bust in the Baltimore area in two days. On Tuesday, Baltimore police confiscated 400 pounds of marijuana, along with plants and a cultivation system, when they raided an East Pratt Street rowhouse. That seizure, which authorities said included a large amount of high-quality marijuana, was valued at $1.5 million.
Griffiths was being held without bond at the Howard County Detention Center on a "drug kingpin" charge, among several other marijuana and traffic-violation charges.
During a news conference yesterday, acting Police Chief William J. McMahon put on display the brown blocks of marijuana as well as more than $2,000 that police say Griffiths was carrying.
McMahon praised Aronovic, 22, who just one month ago gained enough experience to conduct patrols by himself, for "making an impact" on the region's drug trade.
"I was somewhat surprised" to find the marijuana, Aronovic said. "I just did my job as I was trained. There have been much larger busts in the past, and I'm sure there will be in the future."
McMahon said police are trying to determine the origin and the destination of the marijuana.
Samples of the marijuna, which was wrapped mostly in 32-pound blocks, are being shipped to the Maryland State Police lab for analysis. Howard County police also searched the packages for fingerprints. The drugs will eventually be destroyed, said Pfc. Brandon Justice, a spokesman for Howard County police.
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