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Almost five pounds of suspected fentanyl, more than $130,000 in cash and a stolen firearm were seized when federal and county narcotics agents simultaneously raided residences in Hagerstown and northern Washington County on Monday morning.
Two men, Gary Lee Washington and Lekeith Dion Lewis Mitchell, were arrested during the pre-dawn raids. Both are being held without bond following bond-review hearings Tuesday in Washington County District Court.
Washington, 37, of the 24000 block of Graham Avenue near Smithsburg, was charged with possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and other firearms offenses when U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and county Narcotics Task Force agents raided his residence at 5:49 a.m., according to the statement of probable cause.
Mitchell, 39, of the 900 block of Concord Street in Hagerstown, was charged with possession with intent to distribute a heroin and fentanyl mixture, possession of a large amount of narcotics and maintaining a common nuisance for the distribution of narcotics after the raid at his home and another address, his charging document said.
Washington County District Court Judge Mark D. Thomas cited their past criminal records and public-safety concerns in denying bond.
During the bond hearings, Assistant State’s Attorney Christine Remsburg told the judge that the arrests of Mitchell and Washington stemmed from the same investigation by the DEA and county task force.
Agents obtained search warrants for both men’s homes, as well as an unoccupied residence in the 12000 block of Little Elliott Drive, which was described as Mitchell’s “stash location” for drugs. The charging document for Mitchell stated he had been seen coming and going from that address on several occasions prior to drug transactions, the document said.
At Little Elliott Drive, investigators found a black duffel bag containing a package of a brown powder substance that field tested positive for fentanyl, and another package of an off-white powder that also tested positive for fentanyl, the document said. The weight of the two packages, including the weight of the packaging materials, came to 74 ounces.
Also found was a bottle of a liquid that weighed 4 ounces and tested positive for fentanyl, the document said.
Agents also found a blender with a powder residue, plastic bags for packaging, two digital scales and two bottles of what was described as a cutting agent, the document said.
In another duffel bag was a hydraulic press with suspected fentanyl residue, according to the document.
A search of Mitchell’s Concord Street residence resulted in agents seizing $7,100 in cash and “numerous cellphones,” the document said.
The agents were aided by the county’s Special Response Team in the search of Washington’s Graham Avenue home, according to the charging document. Inside the house, they found Washington with five other adults and three children, the document said.
Washington was seen at the top of a stairway with his hand behind his back, the document said. When ordered to come downstairs, he instead went into a bedroom, but came out a short time later and was taken into custody.
Washington bought the home in the fall, the document said.
A search of the house turned up an AR-15 rifle with a loaded 30-round magazine, the document said. The weapon was reported stolen to police in Aberdeen, Md., on June 9, 2015, the document said.
Police found approximately $120,000 in cash in the basement, $7,000 in a safe and another $482 in the house, the document said.
Assistant Public Defender Lisa Havilland asked Thomas to set bails for both men of no more than $50,000, securable with a 10 percent payment.
She told Thomas that Mitchell is “an event promoter and planner.” She said the Little Elliott Drive residence is not Mitchell’s and he had no knowledge of any drugs at that address.
“He’s absolutely mortified about these charges,” Havilland said.
Remsburg told Thomas that Mitchell has drug and assault convictions from 2005.
Washington is a used-car salesman and keeps a large amount of cash on hand for transactions, Havilland told Thomas. Several members of Washington’s family live in the house and he had no knowledge of the stolen rifle, she said.
The charging document for Washington listed eight convictions between 1997 and 2015, including possession of a large amount of narcotics with intent to distribute; two possession of narcotics with intent to distribute convictions; use of a firearm in a drug-trafficking crime; two other handgun convictions; and assault and burglary.