Five persons, including a former University of Maryland student who tried out for the football team in 1984, were indicted today on charges of conspiring to distribute cocaine in Baltimore and at the College Park campus in late 1985 and early this year.
Federal prosecutors and university officials quickly announced that the indictments had no connection with the investigation by Prince George's County authorities into the death of university basketball star Len Bias of cocaine intoxication June 19.
They described the federal probe resulting in today's indictments as routine, adding that the discovery of a university student in the alleged conspiracy was accidental.
A federal grand jury here returned the five-count indictment today against five Baltimore area residents, including Joseph John Delawder, 20, of Glen Burnie, a former Maryland student and "walk-on" who tried out unsuccessfully for the university football team in the spring of 1984.
He is charged, among other things, with selling one ounce of cocaine to an undercover federal drug agent on Dec. 5, 1985, in Kent Hall, a College Park dormitory where Delawder lived at the time. He and the other suspects were charged with conspiring to sell additional small amounts of the drug in the Baltimore area.
Delawder and three of the other suspects were arrested early today and brought before U.S. Magistrate Paul M. Rosenberg, who released each of them on $25,000 unsecured bonds signed by members of their families. The fifth suspect was arrested last week in an unrelated case and released on bond.
At his appearance before Rosenberg today, Delawder, a short, muscular, blond man, said he is doing construction work this summer in the Ocean City, Md., area and lives in Berlin, Md. A court official said Delawder was dismissed from the university this spring because of "academic problems."
In a continuing attempt to discount news reports of a federal investigation into Bias' death, U.S. Attorney Breckinridge L. Willcox said today, "We are monitoring the matter and have intelligence sources that indicate how the Len Bias case went down."
But "there is no formal federal investigation," he said. If the Prince George's investigation should expand beyond state lines and create a federal interstate interest, "then we could become involved," Willcox said.
Willcox said he and other federal officials met Monday with U-Md. Chancellor John Slaughter to assure him that the Delawder case is not related to the Bias investigation and that federal law enforcement authorities are "not on a vendetta" against the university.
Indicted in addition to Delawder were Bradley Francis Larrimore, 25, a restaurant headwaiter, of Glen Burnie; Paul Christopher Taylor, 23, a delivery service driver, of Glen Burnie; Cindy Lou Wohler, 22, a cosmetologist, of Randallstown, and Patrick Stephen Radoci, 20, of Reisterstown.