Nine persons from the Washington area have been arrested and charged in connection with a multimillion-dollar nationwide PCP distribution ring that originated with the smuggling of massive amounts of chemicals from a photo processing plant in upstate New York, authorities said yesterday.
Five other persons, three from Los Angeles and two technicians for the Eastman Kodak Co. in Rochester, N.Y., also were arrested in a series of simultaneous raids conducted by federal and local authorities yesterday morning.
All 14 have been charged with manufacturing, possession and selling of the hallucinogen phencyclidine (PCP).
Police estimated that the coast-to-coast drug ring produced more than 30 million $15 dosages of PCP a year for about two years.
Prince George's County Police Chief Michael Flaherty said he hoped the arrests would stop the flow of the drug into the county, which has been described as the PCP capital of the nation.
Police identified the leader of the operation as James Holcomb, 46, of 2824 Curtis Dr., Hillcrest Heights.
Also arrested in the raids was John Milton Mudd, 53, of 429 N St. SW. Mudd was convicted last month in U.S. District Court of recieving stolen property after $84,000 worth of computer parts reported missing from a Department of Commerce storeroom were found in his apartment. Police discovered the parts when Mudd was found shot in the head in his home in September. Mudd is the president of a company that operates Fair Liquors at 5008 First St. NW.
At a press conference yesterday, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Carl Jackson said the employes stole volumes of the film solvent piperidine, used in the manufacture of the illegal drug. He said the piperidine was taken by car from the Rochester facility in 55-gallon storage drums to locations in the District and Maryland, then flown to Los Angeles where it was processed.
According to officials, the PCP was then shipped by rail, plane and motor vehicles to distributors in Chicago and Texas before it was sent back to the Washington area and packaged for street sale.
The two employes of Kodak were identified as Andrew Davis and Genorval Hobbs.
The arrests were part of a 10-month investigation conducted by the DEA and police from the District, Prince George's County, Howard County and Maryland. Officials said they expect more arrests in the case.
Police said a major break in the case came when Howard County police officers working undercover made several large purchases of the drug in various locations.
Others arrested were identified as: Cleophus Vernon, 42, Brenda McGowan, 29, and Lavell Nolan, 31, all of Los Angeles; Victor Cabral, 27, of 5225 Pooks Hill Rd., Bethesda; Joan Yslas, 26, of 118 Monroe St., Rockville; Master Robinson Jr., 51, of 9300 Tuckerman St., Seabrook, Md.; Ricky T. Evans, 30, of 11901 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring; Michael Williams, 30, of 6004 St. Moritz Dr., Temple Hills, and Edward Sutton, 40, of 3700 Baskerville Dr., Mitchellville, Md. A woman identified as Carol Adams, of 1610 Brightseat Rd., Landover, was arrested at the World Bank, where she worked, authorities said