Two Charged

In Dogfight Probe Montgomery County police have arrested one suspect and are looking for others who conducted dogfights and videotaped them in Gaithersburg.

Norman Patrick Blassingame, Jr., 19, of Gaithersburg was arrested Dec. 31 and charged with two felony counts of animal cruelty. Ronald Roy Grant, 21, turned himself in Jan. 8 and was charged with animal cruelty. Police said arrest warrants for others are anticipated as police continue to identify suspects on the videotape.

Investigators said they discovered the videotape in September after they were called to an apartment in the 900 block of Beacon Square Court on a report of dead dogs inside. Police found two dead dogs and another dying inside the apartment, which residents had abandoned three weeks earlier.

The videotape, left inside a video camera found at the apartment, showed scenes of dogs being provoked to fight each other, police said. One man, identified by police as Blassingame, was seen forcing a pit bull puppy to fight by holding its tail and turning it toward another dog. Scenes from the tape were dated January 2002.

Police ask anyone with information about the incidents to call Crime Solvers at 800-673-2777.

Guilty Plea Entered in Silver Spring Rape A 19-year-old Silver Spring man pleaded guilty on Jan. 9 to the first-degree rape of a woman in a daylight attack near University Boulevard East and Merrimac Drive.

Sekou Braxton-Brown entered the plea in Montgomery County District Court and may face life in prison for the Nov. 10, 2001, attack.

Prosecutors said a 30-year-old woman was approached from behind when she was walking on the street about 10 a.m. The woman told police that the man placed a knife to her neck and forced her to walk several blocks to an apartment building, where she was raped.

DNA recovered from the crime scene identified Braxton-Brown as the suspect, police said.

Extortion Charged in Tile Business Scam A Gaithersburg woman was charged on Dec. 31 with pretending to have a tile business in order to extort money, Montgomery County police said yesterday.

Flora Jazayeri, 42, was charged with two counts of theft over $500, one count of extortion and other charges. Police said that she was a former employee at Color Tile Store who told a customer that she had a private business and would install tile for a lower price.

One 52-year-old woman told police that Jazayeri never delivered on promised services and instead told her that she and her mother would be killed by a gang member if she did not pay several thousand dollars.

Police say that anyone who may have been a victim of the scam should call detectives at 301-657-0112.

Staff writer Phuong Ly contributed to this report.