In the Loop: A crime blotter not to be missed

September 11, 2013

The hit HBO series “The Wire” was big even with real wiretapped 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 of conspiring to distribute heroin.

In his opinion for the court, Chief Judge Merrick Garland noted that Cross and co-conspirator Mouloukou Toure were overheard discussing the show. One said, “Yeah, season three is my favorite.” (As 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. “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 hotel stays. 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. . . . Know what I’m sayin’?”

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

Agents searched the room and found drugs, among other places, behind the face plate of an electrical outlet.

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

Cross’s conviction was upheld.

An unorthodox case

Speaking of drug dealers, the New York City cops must have suspected something wasn’t quite kosher with the text messages being sent by some apparently observant Jews in Brooklyn.

During a five-month probe, police said, five suspects kept sending text messages urging customers to place orders before sundown Friday or wait until after sundown Saturday.

They apparently couldn’t do business during the Sabbath. Well, that’s certainly laudable.

And what were they selling? Allegedly, prescription painkillers, heroin, cocaine and the like, the city’s special narcotics prosecutor’s office said Tuesday, according to a report by the Associated Press.

“We are closing at 7:30 on the dot and will reopen on Saturday at 8:15 so if u need anything you have 45 mins. to get what you want,” one text said. An indictment charged the men with using stolen prescription sheets and other methods to obtain 23,000 oxycodone pills with a street value of $460,000.

And they were allegedly using code names — “D.O.B.” for heroin, “white girl” for cocaine. A text in April allegedly said: “Awesome batch of D.O.B. just came in!!! Open now till 7:30.”

Sounds as if someone’s got some serious atoning to do this weekend on Yom Kippur.

No ‘Mayor Danger’

And now, a fond farewell to a Loop Favorite, former congressman Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner, who got a pathetic 5 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s New York City Democratic primary for mayor.

“There is no doubt about it,” he told his supporters in his concession speech as he reflected on his joke campaign. “We had the best ideas.” (Though the best idea might have been to stop texting pictures of your privates.)

Then, with uncharacteristic understatement, he said: “Sadly, I was an imperfect messenger.”

A class act, Weiner, upon leaving, gestured obscenely to reporters. He will be missed — until he runs again.

Dr. Doctored

Yet another Washington career has been sidetracked by résumé “enhancement.” Elizabeth O’Bagy, a young researcher at the Institute for the Study of War, became instantly famous last week when her Wall Street Journal op-ed on intervention in Syria was drawn on by both Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Secretary of State John Kerry in congressional hearings.

Alas, a few days later O’Bagy was fired for saying she had a doctorate when in fact she didn’t. She told Politico on Monday that she had submitted and defended her dissertation and was waiting for her degree.

Résumé puffery, major or minor, is quite common, especially in Washington. Lawmakers often get in hot water for embellishing such things as military service: Take Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), whose campaign was almost derailed by reports he had indicated he had been in Vietnam, or Rep. Wes Cooley (R-Ore.), who lost his seat after claiming he had served in Korea.

And then there’s our favorite, California hotelier Larry Lawrence, who died while serving as President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Switzerland and whose body was exhumed from Arlington National Ceremony when it turned out he had lied about being in the Merchant Marine during World War II.

It’s official, almost

The worst-kept secret in Washington is about to be revealed: President Obama is expected to nominate former Enron prosecutor Leslie Caldwell to head the Justice Department’s criminal division. We hear the move is likely to be announced this week.

Caldwell, who led the Enron task force, is in private practice in New York. Pre-Enron, she was chief of the criminal division and the securities fraud section in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of California.

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

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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