Federal authorities seized a helicopter yesterday owned by developer and racetrack owner Mark Raymond Vogel, alleging in an affidavit that Vogel used the private aircraft to transport cocaine to Atlantic City.

The affidavit, filed yesterday in Baltimore by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agent, says that Vogel, 42, carried "small quantities" of cocaine on several occasions in the fall of 1989 and in April 1990 to Atlantic City for use by him and his entourage, which included a man and two women.

The seizure comes two weeks after Vogel, whose extensive holdings stretch from rural Virginia to the Maryland shore, was arrested in Fairfax on a charge of possessing four grams of cocaine, worth about $400.

Vogel, who owns Rosecroft Raceway in Oxon Hill and Delmarva Downs near Ocean City, is the developer of the Bowie New Town Center and owns thousands of acres of residential and commercial real estate in the Washington area. {Related story on harness racing questions, Page B1.}

He is facing financial difficulties on numerous fronts, filing Wednesday for protection from creditors on one of his real estate partnerships.

U.S. Attorney Breckinridge L. Willcox said the helicopter was seized because it was "used to transport cocaine with Vogel's knowledge and consent on a number of occasions."

Authorities acted quickly to seize the helicopter, a 1980 Bell Jet Ranger, because they feared that Vogel would sell it to raise money, Willcox said.

Information about Vogel for the affidavit was obtained from three cooperating witnesses, "all of whom have had cocaine-related activity" with the developer.

Paul Mark Sandler, an attorney for Vogel, questioned the credibility of the unnamed informants.

"One is struck by the generality of the allegations and the anonymity of the so-called confidential inform ers," said Sandler. "Mr. Vogel is presumed innocent and must have an opportunity in an appropriate forum to dispute and challenge the statements against him."

The arrest followed a six-month federal investigation into Vogel's alleged drug activities.

Authorities say the probe began as a routine drug investigation but eventually evolved into a broader look at possible political influence peddling by Vogel and a circle of developers.

Barry Jamison, the Drug Enforcement Administration special agent who signed the affidavit, stated that an August 1988 investigation into the distribution of kilogram quantities of cocaine from Florida to Washington uncovered local people who were "actively involved in the distribution of smaller quantities of cocaine."

The night of his arrest, Vogel dined with Carter Vincent Boehm, a Northern Virginia developer, longtime friend and business partner who himself is facing a federal indictment on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

The affidavit sheds light on Vogel's relationship with Boehm, who was implicated in a scheme to exchange machine guns for a kilogram of cocaine.

Boehm and Vogel frequently socialized together in Georgetown and Northern Virginia, according to friends and associates.

According to the affidavit, Vogel told investigators that he was on the way to Boehm's house to use cocaine with him when his car was stopped in the 9300 block of Georgetown Pike by federal agents and Fairfax County police.

According to the affadivit, Vogel and Boehm, whom federal agents term a "cocaine-related associate of Vogel's," flew to Atlantic City aboard the Bell Jet Ranger in early November 1989, taking cocaine with them.

An unidentified informant told a federal drug agent that Boehm said he would bring the drugs, which they used together once they were in Atlantic City. The affidavit attributes information about the 1989 trip to one of the three cooperating witnesses, a longtime friend of Vogel's who allegedly has ingested cocaine with him on numerous occasions. According to the friend, on several occasions in the fall of 1989, the friend flew with Vogel and two girlfriends to Atlantic City, and the group took with them a small quantity of cocaine.

A second informant told of a trip to Atlantic City on April 5, 1990, where once again Vogel, the informant and two girlfriends used cocaine together. Vogel, who often calls himself "the Donald Trump of Prince George's County," and his companions stayed at Trump's newly opened Taj Mahal hotel.

Vogel associates have said that the developer frequently used the helicopter to make trips to Atlantic City casinos for gambling and to negotiate to buy the Atlantic City Race Track. Vogel has signed a contract to purchase the track for $17 million but has not closed the deal.

According to the affidavit, the blue and white helicopter is registered to the Air Shark Copter Co. of Wilmington, Del., which is owned by Vogel.

The name Air Shark was derived partly as a joke from Vogel's nickname for himself, "Mark the Shark," according to friends.

He was dissauded from painting "Air Shark" on the side of the helicopter by employees who told him the craft was too small and modest for such a title.

Instead he emblazoned it with the word "Vogel."

At least $87,500 used to buy the helicopter came from Rosecroft Raceway proceeds, according to track employees.

Vogel has come under scrutiny by the state Racing Commission for using track proceeds to finance other ventures. Sandler said that Vogel, who owns 100 percent of the track, saw nothing wrong with using track funds because he is the sole owner of the track.

The Maryland Racing Commission asked Vogel this week to remove himself from the track's day-to-day operations.

Staff writer Vinnie Perrone contributed to this report.