A former investigator for the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control allegedly played a key role in a cocaine distribution network that brought up to 25 kilograms of cocaine and crack into the Washington region each week, according to law enforcement officials.
Bobby Eugene Pope, who also worked for the now-defunct House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions With Iran, was arrested by federal agents in Alexandria on Thursday and charged along with six others with conspiring to sell more than 50 grams of cocaine.
Pope, 44, allegedly supplied telephone beepers, cars and apartments that were used to facilitate what law enforcement officials have called one of the region's largest crack rings. Law enforcement sources said they will present evidence that Pope provided the group with beepers while he was employed with the narcotics abuse committee.
Edward Gurith, staff director of that committee, said Pope worked for it for eight months in 1988 investigating and assessing international anti-drug programs administered by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Customs Service and other enforcement agencies.
Gurith described Pope's arrest as upsetting and indicative of "how serious the drug problem is in this country."
Casey Miller, staff director of the House select committee that looked into covert arms sales to Iran before the group was disbanded in 1988, declined to comment on Pope's arrest.
Pope's job with that committee was to safeguard classified documents that were used during the investigation of the Iran-Contra affair, according to sources.
Attorney Joseph J. McCarthy, representing Pope at a detention hearing in U.S. Magistrate's Court in Alexandria yesterday, argued that his client should be released on bail because he had demonstrated reliability through his service with the congressional committees.
McCarthy noted that Pope served in the Navy and Marine Corps with honor and was awarded Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam.
McCarthy also denied that Pope had any involvement with drug trafficking, saying that he ran a Northern Virginia security service that leased equipment such as beepers and cellular phones to many clients.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Wright, noting that federal agents seized four loaded handguns from Pope's apartment, argued that Pope represented a public danger and should not be released on bond.
U.S. Magistrate Leonie M. Brinkema ordered Pope held without bond, citing evidence in a 62-page affidavit that made several connections between the beepers and the alleged drug conspiracy.
The affidavit, unsealed yesterday and prepared by an investigator with a regional anti-drug task force of local and federal agencies, details an alleged drug trade run out of several large Northern Virginia apartment complexes, including Skyline Towers on Seminary Road in Falls Church, where Pope lived.
Undercover agents allegedly monitored a cocaine transaction in July during which a drug dealer used a 1984 Volvo registered to Pope, according to the affidavit.
That dealer also moved out of an Arlington apartment building and left Pope's Falls Church location as a forwarding address, the affidavit says.
Agents also identified beeper numbers used by other dealers as those assigned to a Falls Church security company where Pope once worked, according to the affidavit.
One defendant arrested with Pope on Thursday said in an apartment rental application that Pope was his supervisor, the affidavit says.
Several of those arrested in the case said in documents that they were employed by D'Cache Fashions, a clothing store formerly in the 1800 block of Adams Mill Road NW.
Romulo Deleon, a 22-year-old defendant from Arlington, unwittingly met with an undercover agent at D'Cache and said "he could supply whatever cocaine the undercover detective would be interested in purchasing," according to the affidavit.
Court papers add that Deleon said he had access to "crack or powder, and mentioned kilo weights."
All seven defendants were ordered held without bail. The case will now be referred to a federal grand jury for review and possible indictment.