Real drug dealers loved HBO’s The Wire

Actors, from left, Sonja Sohn, Wendell Pierce, Dominic West  in a scene from HBO's "The Wire". (AP Photo/HBO, Nicole Rivelli) Actors, from left, Sonja Sohn, Wendell Pierce, Dominic West  in a scene from HBO’s “The Wire”. (AP Photo/HBO, Nicole Rivelli)

The hit HBO television series “The Wire” was big even with real wire-tapped drug dealers — just like the ones at the center of the drama. A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in the case of Elohim Cross, who had been convicted for conspiring to distribute heroin.

In his opinion for the court, Chief Judge Merrick Garland noted that Cross and  co-conspirator Mouloukou Toure were overheard talking about the show and one said: “Yeah, season three is my favorite.” (A footnote in the opinion explains that season aired in 2004.)

The two men had been working out of a Comfort Inn in Capitol Heights, Md. On Nov. 4, 2009, agents, “overheard Cross calling Toure in a panic,” Garland wrote and  “There followed a conversation that could well have been written for The Wire.”

Cross told Toure he got a tip from the front desk that the hotel manager had given an officer a printout of his stays at the hotel. Cross said he needed to send someone back “because I still got things in there, you feel me, it’s going to be hard to find but I got things in there. . .[Y] know what I’m sayin?”

“Yeahhh, you got to be careful, dawg,” Toure replied.

Agents searched the room and found drugs — where else? — hidden behind the face plate of an electrical outlet and other places.

The next day, Cross told Toure: “I sent a couple of my home boys . . . to the room to get all my stuff,” and they found a copy of a “search and seizure warrant.” Cross said he wanted to meet Toure “face to face cause right now this like . . . in the movie, you know what I’m talking about?”

The court upheld Cross’ conviction.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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Al Kamen · September 10, 2013