MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Former Miss Maryland USA Charged With Being Part of Drug Ring

After a stakeout in Germantown, police charged Tia Shorts, Miss Maryland USA 2004, with being part of a drug-dealing operation.
After a stakeout in Germantown, police charged Tia Shorts, Miss Maryland USA 2004, with being part of a drug-dealing operation. (Montgomery County Police Department)
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By Dan Morse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 4, 2009

In 2004, Tia Shorts was crowned Miss Maryland USA. Yesterday, Montgomery County police said they had charged her as part of a drug-dealing operation.

Beginning Tuesday, police said, detectives staked out a Germantown apartment that had been linked to drug activity. They arrested three people who emerged from the apartment: two brothers and their 67-year-old mother.

Inside the apartment, police said, officers found ammunition, marijuana, cash -- and Shorts.

Shorts, who lives at the apartment in the unit block of Pickering Court, was charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana.

Shorts, now 29, was awarded the title of "Miss Congeniality" from her fellow delegates at the 2004 pageant, according to Turn for the Judges, an online news service about beauty pageants.

Police also arrested Joey G. King, 30, of Germantown; James G. King IV, 32, of Gaithersburg; and Hyacinth King of Gaithersburg, police said. They were charged with a variety of offenses involving at least one gun and drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

Shorts, who was free after posting $10,000 bond, could not be reached to comment last night. No one responded to a message left at a phone number listed for her address.

Reached by phone last night, pageant coordinator Angela Shealy described Shorts as "a very lovely lady."

"That's why it's very sad to hear the news," Shealy said. "We wish her the best and hope things turn around for her."


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