Officer Charged

10 Years of Drug Trafficking Alleged

It has been a rough couple of weeks for D.C. police, with three officers charged with breaking the laws they were sworn to enforce. One veteran officer allegedly trafficked in heroin, cocaine and marijuana for more than a decade.

Officer Andrew James McGill Jr., 29, of Forestville, joined a drug network while he was at the police academy, before he joined the force, officials allege. For a time, he also served as a plainclothes narcotics officer.

"These are very serious charges against him," said Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey. "We have to root out corruption in the department."

The case against one of their own could have far-reaching implications for the department. A.J. Kramer, head of the Federal Public Defenders Service, has begun pulling cases McGill was involved with to see if any of those convictions could be overturned.

If McGill is convicted, "it would compromise every case in which he was a witness," defense lawyer Bernard Grimm said, adding, "It is a nightmare" for D.C. police.

Also last week, Officer Darrell L. Green was arrested on charges that he looted a self-storage unit in Vienna. And about 10 days ago, Officer Warren L. Pindell was charged with holding up two men who had been with prostitutes. He was off-duty but was still wearing his uniform, police said.

Across the Region

Song Falls Flat; Old Cases Resurface

* Janice Lancaster had done all the right things for a woman in her situation. She went to court to get a protective order against her abusive husband. She called the police when he assaulted her. She sought counseling. It wasn't enough. James Steven Lancaster, 36, shot his 34-year-old wife to death in their Charles County home, as an almost two-week-old order for his arrest lay unprocessed in a court clerk's office. Lancaster then killed himself. "This is our worst nightmare come true," State's Attorney Leonard C. Collins Jr. said.

* Virginia lawmakers who were to select a new state song to replace "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia" are now singing a different tune. After whittling the field from 400 to eight--and being hit with a lawsuit--the panel said the public should decide. But former governor L. Douglas Wilder, who started the campaign to can "Carry Me Back" when he was a state senator 30 years ago, says the state doesn't need a song at all. "Just go ahead . . . and get a life," he said. "Focus on the things that are important."

* The economy is great. But is it so booming that Montgomery County can spend millions more on schools, roads and social services while also giving residents a tax cut? County Council member Isiah Leggett (D-At Large) thinks the county, which has an $80 million surplus, can have it both ways. County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) says he won't propose tax cuts this year, but he could be overruled by the county council.

* Thirty-six children in Maryland died last year because of child abuse and neglect, a 50 percent increase from 1998, according to a nonprofit group. Advocates for Children and Youth blamed the deaths on overworked caseworkers, but state officials said new laws improved the caseworkers' ability to identify abuse and neglect.

* Who's responsible for District schools? Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) says it's often hard to tell, and he wants to replace the elected school board with a panel named by him. "I'm willing to say, 'The buck stops here,' " he said. But the D.C. council doesn't seem willing to go that far. Most members say they would back letting the mayor choose the superintendent, but only two of 13 favor an appointed school board.

* Virginia officials were trying to make the road safer when they converted a shoulder of Interstate 66 to an exit to the Capital Beltway. But John J. Pye, 71, a Washington trial lawyer, was killed there when he was struck by a truck after his car broke down. Three people have died in similar accidents in the area in two months.

* After a two-week controversy, the District council approved the nomination of the Rev. Willie F. Wilson to the board of the University of the District of Columbia. Two council members opposed Mayor Williams's nomination, saying that Wilson, pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church in Anacostia, has been racially divisive in the past.

* A federal judge in New York says the United Way must pay its disgraced former president his $4.4 million pension. But the Alexandria-based charity won't have to fork over the whole sum to William Aramony, who used donors' money to fund cruises on the Nile and Manhattan weekends with his girlfriends. The judge said Aramony, who is serving a seven-year prison sentence, owes the nonprofit group $2 million.

* More than 25 years after the alleged incident, a 72-year-old Fairfax County man has been charged with raping an 11-year-old girl. The woman, now 36, went to police in November. There is no statute of limitations on rape. The man, Arthur M. Carmean, says he is not guilty.

* In another protracted sexual assault case, a computer analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency was convicted of trying to rape several of his neighbors in an Alexandria high-rise complex from 1992 to 1995. The crimes remained unsolved until Ronald Suzukawa told DIA officials during a routine security clearance that police had questioned him about a series of sex assaults.

* In a sign that the city isn't out of the woods yet, financially speaking, a new report says the District government could face a $66 million budget deficit if it doesn't trim spending. But Chief Financial Officer Valerie Holt says some agencies already have started to make cuts, and everything should be fine.

* Partly in an effort to bolster the Washington area's ability to cope with potential terrorist attacks, the Marine Corps' elite chemical and biological weapons response team will move to the Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center in Charles County. The 373-member unit will leave Camp Lejeune, N.C., in April.