Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County police and federal drug enforcement officers yesterday arrested 33 persons who they said were part of a network involved in the manufacture and distribution of the hallucinogenic drug phencyclidine (PCP) in the Baltimore and suburban Washington areas.
Six more suspects were being sought, and another seven are serving time in prison on other charges, they said.
All 46 were indicted Tuesday by a grand jury in Baltimore.
Two men, Raymond Thomas Lurz Jr., 34, of Essex, Md., and Michael R. Steedman, 28, of Bel Air, Md., were indicted on charges of distributing and manufacturing the drug. The other 44 were charged with distributing the substance, officials said.
Lurz is a member of the Pagan motorcycle club, officials said. Six of the other suspects also are Pagan club members, according to officials of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Lurz is now in a federal prison in Sorrento, Fla., serving a sentence resulting from his conviction on other drug charges. Steedman was arrested yesterday.
If convicted of the new charges, the two men could face up to a maximum of 10 years in prison for each count. If the jury adds a penalty conviction for operating and continuing a criminal enterprise, they could face an additional 10-years-to-life imprisonment, according to a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore.
The ohter 44 people who have been charged with distribution of the drug, could still face a maximum of 10 years in prison for each count, officials said.
Officials said the drug, which is sprayed on parsley flakes and then smoked, was sold to individuals in the Baltimore and Washington areas at an average price of $1,300 a pound.
PCP, normally used as a tranquilizer for large animals, is one of the most dangerous drugs on the illegal market, according to DEA officials. One spokesman said, "It makes people think they're superhuman. I've seen six to eight officers try to subdue one person tripped out on PCP."
PCP was developed in the 1950s and has been sold illegally since about 1967, officials said, adding that more than 7 million people, mostly the young, have used the drug illegally.