Tag Archives: Crack

BCCBIC (Baltimore City Central Booking and Intake Center):Part 2

The officer walks me into an open area. To my right is a window with a CO behind it and a chair in front of it. Imediatley past that is a very small room followed by a row of pay phones. Across from the phones is the nurses center. Then on both sides of the walls are cells marked single cell until you get to the end of the hall. In front of where I am standing is a double doorway that leads to an area similar to the set up that I have just described, only it is about three times as big. It is the men’s side. There is a room connecting the men’s and women’s sides, it is the fingerprinting area.
The cop hands me off to a CO and says, “Watch her. She’s pregnant and ill.” She shakes her head as a sign that she understands and leads me into the room next to the window. There she somewhat strip searches me (although of any jail I have been to, this was the laziest, most half-assed stip search that I have ever been apart of). Next, she leads me back to a bench in front of where I just entered where I sit for about an hour, until I am called to have my fingerprints taken. Now, I go to the window where they do my property intake.mi am given a piece of paper to sign that lists what items they have taken from me, and that I am theoretically going to get back upon my release. There is a time printed on the paper. This time marks when my 24 hours start. This time, six hours AFTER my arrest. I was lucky too. I was able to be walked right into bookings. Often times, weekends, concerts, the Grand Prix, etc. there is a line to even get in the door. I know of many people who waited for anywhere from 2-8 hours to get in the door. Add this to the probably two or three hours they spent at the district police station, and the few hours that it takes once you are inside before your time starts.
Next, I see the nurse. After a 30 second physical. I am allowed to make my call. I call my mother. She isn’t exactly happy, but tells me that she will bail me out if I am not PR’d (released on personal recognizance). A guard yells at me to get off the phone, that my 30 seconds are up, and takes me to a cell. I walk into a cell that is marked that it is for single occupancy. There is probably 20-25 women in there. It is so tight that you literally can not shift positions without making everyone shift.
The next 20 or so hours tick by at a snails pace. Talking to the other women helps pass the time, but I am so sick that it is unbearable. One girl in the sell has ready, but no lighter. A girl in the cell across from ours has a lighter, but nothing to light. The chick with the ready tries to get the inmate who is mopping the floors to get the lighter from her, but he is too scared to do it.
The only other white girl in the cell is a girl about my age (21 at the time). She is in there for prostitution. She said that she is in there almost every week. Usually it is a walk through, meaning that you are arrested for something petty like trespassing or failure to obey police orders and are held for a day and then released without a charge. She was hoping that was what this was, but wasn’t sure as none of us are told our charges until we see the commissioner. She knew that if it was a solicitation charge there would be a bail attached and probably a high one. The city had started a crack down of hookers due to the fact that we had (possibly still have) the highest AIDS rate in the country. The mayor (Martin O’Malley) felt that the hookers were to blame for this. At one point she got into it with another woman because she didn’t want to sit on the floor. “It’s dirty. It’s gross!”, she exclaimed. “How clean theses dicks be that you suck all day?”, the other woman asked. “Well theses dicks get me ready. If this floor goons give me ready, then I ain’t got no problem with it.” You cannot make this shit up people.
At some point in the day, I guess lunch, we are brought food. There are no windows or clocks in booking, and they keep the ultra bright fluorescent lights on 24/7 to throw off any sense of time that you may have. Even if I weren’t puking every 10 minutes, I couldn’t have ate that lunch. Mystery meat all the way. I did drink the juice, so that I didn’t get too dehydrated. I traded my sand which for the apple. I figured that I should try to get something down, if for no other purpose but to throw up something instead of stomach lining.
Eventually, after about 20 hours, my name is called. I am going to the commissioner. So I think. I mean, I am, but first I am taken to another set of holding cells. These are for people about to see one of the commissioners. I think that they had 13 or 15 commissioners on duty at that time. I sit for about an hour and then am lead to a tiny, tiny room. My left wrist is handcuffed to the counter, and the door is locked behind me. The commissioner, a young black guy with long dreads, sits in an office on the other side of bullet proof glass. I can see my booking photo up on the screen (and what a lovely head shot that was too), along with a statement of charges that I have not yet seen. He slides me a copy of my paper work through a slit in the glass. I am being charged with possession of a CDS (not marijuana), which carries up to four years and is a misdemeanor. He reads me what the police said happen, most of which was lies. They said that the witnessed the event which was impossible because they were coming from the Edmonson Village Center, we were in an alley further past where they had stopped us. They hadn’t even gotten to where we copped yet. Also you cannot see into the alley from Edmonson as it is an L shaped alley. Also they said that I handed the dude the money, and that he then handed Aaron the pills. That doesn’t happen. The dealer always gives the drugs to the person who gives them the money. Often there will be four or five people in the car. The person who hands the money,mis probably the person who put up most of the money. You could just be giving. Ride to a stranger to cop, and here the dealer gives this person all your shit. No. If they did that and then the person in your car didn’t want to give you all your shit, you would not want to go back to that dealer. Also, they made no mention of the fact that my husband claimed all responsibility for the drugs. I told the man about these lies. He looked at me and dead panned, “You mean to tell me that the Baltimore City police lied in a charging document?” Ok, good point. He proceeded to ask me a few questions. Had I ever been arrested before? Yes. Did I have any open charges? Yes Was I on probation? Yes. Did I have any convictions? Yes any felonies? No. Any FTAs? No (although I raked up quite a few in the year that followed). How long had I lived at my present address? All of my life. He then told me that he was going to grant me a PR. I was ecstatic to say the least. I asked him if he was going to decide my husband’s fate. He told me that he was. I asked him if he knew what he was going to do, he told me that he didn’t know. I told him that I would greatly appreciate it if he would PR Aaron as well, because I didn’t know this side of town, and my car was impounded. He laughed and said that he would keep it in mind. Just to note, he did PR my husband. He then pushed a button to let a CO know that he was done with me. I am taken back to the cell that I was just in while waiting to have my bail set. After another two hours I, along with anyone else who has been PR’d, am taken to another row of cells on the ground level. This is where you sit for another hour or six while they run your name one last time for warrants and retrieve your property. I have known of a few people who have made it this far, to only then have their warrants discovered. If you were assigned a bail, youa are taken back downstairs to the cells that you were in before they took you to the commissioner cells. Only this time you are on the last cells in the line. Theses are the people waiting to go upstairs to get put with general population while you either wait to be bailed out or sit until trial or your release date.
Anyway, the wait while in the property cells in particularly long and excruciating. You can see the street. You have been told that you are to be release, yet here you stand. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, they call seven women, and one man (Aaron). We are let through a set of double doors after we sign for our property. Aaron and I are both sick as fuck, but happy to see each other. We hug and kiss and hold hands as we walk out the door. The sunlight blinds me, and even though I have only been locked up for about 30 hours total, it feels like it has been a week. We turn on my phone, and call my mom to come get us. I have made through hell and back.

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Gotti and the Gun (Part 1)

Baltimore has two kinds of weather. It is ether brutally hot and humid, or freezing cold. This takes place on one of those freezing cold, bitter winter days.
Aaron and I were driving down Edmonson Avenue with our friend Steve. We were on our way to Jared’s pawn shop on Hilton to sell some boosted pharmaceuticals to get money to get well. As we were driving we saw our main crack dealer Gotti walking down the road. Now, getting ready at that moment was the furthest thing from any of our minds. Anyone with a dope habit will tell you that if you are ill (dope sick) the absolute LAST thing you want to do is smoke crack. It just kicks your withdraws into over drive. That being said though, being as it was like 10 degrees before the windchill we decided to see if Gotti needed a ride.
“Yeah. I just need to go to my girl’s on Wildwood”, he told us. Now, if you are going up Edmonson towards the village center, Wildwood is a two way, divided street. Coming down Edmonson, the way we were headed, and the side of Wildwood that he was going to, Wildwood was a one way coming down, dead-ending into Edmonson. This meant that we had to drive past it, turn up the next street and loop around.
Of course as Gotti is getting into my Cavalier, a cop drives by and hits the lights. “Shit!”, Gotti exclaims, “Don’t let them search the car, I’m dirty. Oh, and if they ask, my name is Pierre Lonfonze.” “Pierre Lonfonze?”, I ask incredulously. “Yeah.”
We pull over and the two cops, both white dudes, walk up to the car, one on each side. As soon as Aaron rolls down the window, the cop on his side points to Gotti, “You. Out.” Aaron lets out of the back of out two door car, and the cop closes the door. We watch as they pat Gotti down and talk to him. They write him his little pink ticket and send him off on foot. (In Baltimore if you are fucked with by the police for what they call a CDS investigation, and they do not arrest anyone, they write you a little receipt saying the officers name, your name, the date, time, street of the stop etc. I don’t know why they do this. I guess they have to hit some sort of weekly quota of how many people they fuck with.) as we were sitting in the car watching this happen, Steve says, “He put something under your seat dude.” Lovely.
Now, they come back to the car to deal with us. “You know why I stopped you all?” The one asks us. We shake our heads communicating that, no we did not know. “I stopped yup because you picked up Gotti, a known crack dealer.” “Great,” I thought, “that motherfucker is hot like that?”
“Step out of the car please,” he tells Aaron and Steve. He takes them behind the car while the other cop sits with me. After a few minutes, he comes back and orders me out of the car. “So your buddy says that he knows Gotti ’cause they were locked up together at RCI.” (RCI is a prison in Hagerstown.) “That maybe,” I say. “Why did you pick up a crack dealer?”, they ask me. “It’s cold,” I said, “We were taking him to his girl’s house on Wildwood.” “Why did you pass Wildwood then?” “‘Cause it is a one way street,” I say. “No it’s not,” they say. (It is – they were just trying to fuck with me.)
“Ok. What is Gotti’s real name?” they question. This is a big test that they like to pull when it is a car that has black and white people together. They figure that if it is your drug dealer than you will not know their real name, which often is true. “Pierre Lonfonze,” I say, trying to keep a straight face. “Yeah, that’s what he told us too, but we aren’t buying it.” “Well that is the only name that I have ever known him by, ” I tell them.
After a few more minutes of harassment, they ask us where we live. We tell them. “70 is that way. I suggest that you head towards it,” we are told. We get back in and drive off, knowing that we were lucky, as that was just about the ONLY time that I have been pulled over I the city and they didn’t search the car. We didn’t yet realize how lucky we were.
“Find the pack,” we tell Steve, as we assume that Gotti had left a pack of crack in our car. “Um, he didn’t leave a pack guys,” Steve says pulling out a loaded gun. (I’m not sure what kind of gun it was as I am not a gun person.)
Within two minutes of us pulling off, my phone rings and it is Gotti. He wants his gun back. He wants to buy it back at three times what he should pay for it. Now let me say a couple things here. One, yes, it is fucked up that Gotti left it in the car, but as it turned out they didn’t search the car. Actually, they didn’t search us either. Gotti was the only person that they did search. He knew that they would search him, as he was the reason that they hemmed us up. Had he kept the gun on him, they would have found it, no doubt. They also would have arrested us all. He took a calculated risk, and it worked.
Second, I personally have never seen Gotti be anything but sweet, polite, and nice, but everyone in the village was absolute terrified of him. “Gotti don’t play,” is a sentiment that you would hear repeatedly in that area.
So, Aaron tells him that we will sell it back to him but that we are not going right back up there ’cause, yeah, we just got fucked with there, and they followed us halfway down Edmonson towards Cooks Lane, which takes you to Route 70.
“Fuck that,” Steve exclaims. “Take me down to Jigga right quick.” We head that way to cop as that was one of the best dopes at time (actually they stayed one of the best dopes for a shockingly long period of time- years). We pull down the street and find the guy in charge. Steve asks him if he is interested in the gun. Of course he is, he is a drug dealer in Baltimore. So we give him the gun in exchange for money and dope.
“You shouldn’t have done that!” Aaron tells Steve. “Gotti knows he fucked up, he would have given us more for it. He wanted it back.”
Later on Aaron and I explained to Gotti what happened to his gun. He felt bad and gave us free ready for about a month straight to try to make up for the incident.
Approximately two or three weeks after this happened, we ran into Steve at the West Side Shopping Center with a black eye and walking with a limp. “What the fuck happened to you?” I asked him. “Gotti and his boys jumped me and stomped the shit out of me. He was pissed about the gun.” “Told you we should have just sold it back to him,” Aaron said.

Stewie

Stewie

It was a bitter cold January morning in Sandtown that day. Aaron and I were crouched down in my Chevy Cavalier, with the engine off so that the car would not emit smoke out of the muffler. We were just two of the hundred or so waiting for Flatline to start hitting.
Flatline was a white fentanyl-based dope. It was good, really, really good. It was great because it took Aaron and mine’s thousand dollar a day habit and cut in a third. The problem was that no other dope got you high. If Flatline was on hold to long, or if the police came and locked up everyone on the block for the day, twice as much of another dope would just barely get you well.
Most people waiting for them to yell, “Flatline in the hole”, would hang out in the little corner stores or liquor stores, or abandoned row houses. Being as though we were lacking in skin pigmentation we waited in the car. You had to be fast when they started hitting, as they would sell out in like five to ten minutes flat, never hitting more than half of the line. Then they went on hold for another hour or two.
Being white added additional risks. Anyone who gets caught walking out of a hole (or an abandoned alley) is fucked. If you are black though, once you get out of the alley on to the street, you are basically fine. Those of us that are fairer, are a walking target all the way to the car. Even then,you are not really safe. If a cop sees you white ass driving around in Sandtown, you are getting pulled. They will figure out a reason for why they pulled you over later. Total racial profiling. Maybe this is why I am so sensitive and disgusted by racial profiling, I have had it happen to me. At least though I am the race that is the majority in most parts of this country and only would face it in Baltimore. I don’t face it every time I go to the airport or am in an upper or middle class neighborhood.
Aaron and I had our little routine. Flatline was the only dope that we could not only get well, but get HIGH off of just one pill. Every morning we would ball in town, cop two, get well and then go out boosting to get money for drugs for the rest of the day.
After we would cop everyday, we would go to the same BP and pull up to the same pump, pump one. Aaron would start cooking up the dope while I went to pay for gas. It was always the same dude working. He would always have my Tropicana peach papaya juice ready for me, and new what pump we were using. I would start to pump the gas, and leave the pump in the car as we got on.
It worked, but we had no tint, and sometimes it would take us an awfully long time to find a vein. One time we had a really close call. Since we didn’t want to sit at the pump any longer than we had to, Aaron would pull off as soon as we were done and I would clean the tools (needles) as we were driving. One day after we got on, we were waiting to turn on to Franklin Road, when a cop car drove by. It had a white female and a black male, and they practically broke their necks looking at us as they drove by. Sure enough they got right behind us. I had no time to put the tools or cooker away, and I couldn’t throw them out the window, so I dropped them under the seat. Within 15 seconds, the lights and sirens went on. They said that they pulled us over because Aaron didn’t have his seat belt on the entire time, but that was bullshit. Aaron was buckling it while we were still at the gas station, as they drove by. They pulled us because we were white. After she looked at our IDs, which stated that we were from Howard County all of 20 minutes away, the first thing the lady asked us was, “What are you doing here?” I thought this was America not Iraq, but we were white in an area that wasn’t. “We were just getting gas and going back home”, we told her. She instantly pulled us out of the car. “Are their any drugs in the car? Is there anything that can cut me, poke me, scratch me?”, she asked. “No drugs,” I responded, “but there are two needles under the passengers seat with no caps on them, so be careful.” By now the backup arrived. “Be careful!” She exclaimed to the other officers, “There’s needles everywhere and none of them have caps on!” This was of course a gross exaggeration. There was not needles everywhere without caps. There were two needles without caps, the others had caps on and were inside of the pink sarin Chanel bag that I kept the cooker, needles, ties, alcohol wipes, water, etc. in. Most people are probably wondering why I so easily told the officer that there was needles in the car, and where they were. The answer is that in Baltimore the don’t lock people up for needles (crack pipes are a different story). The jails are far too overcrowded as it is to lock up people for a crime that only carriers at the max a $500 fine. Now, if the cop had pricked herself with one of those needles, we would have been arrested for sure. We would have been charged with assault on an officer at the minimum, and I have known people who have been charged with attempted murder for similar situations. The AIDS rate in Baltimore is so high, that they fear being poked with a dirty needle more than most things. After we were both thoroughly searched, we sat on the curb and watched the three of them tear my car apart, getting angrier by the second that they could not find any drugs. “There has to be drugs in here. They have the cooker, the tools out,” she said. “Unless they just did them,” the black officer told her. “Just tell us where they are,” she pleaded with me. “I told you, there are no drugs. We just shoot up at the gas station.” Finally after about 45 minutes, she have up. “Get the fuck out of here. If I catch you all around here again, I’ll lock you up on some petty ass paraphernalia bullshit.”
The point of this anecdote is to illustrate that it was always a little risky getting high at the gas station. We faced the car away from the road, but still, had those cops drove by three minutes earlier, we may have been fucked.
So on that particular January day, Aaron came back to the car with this short, balding white dude in his mid-forties. “This is Stewie. He says he’s got a place on Fulton. If we give him a ride home, we can get on at his place.” “Get in,” I say.
We arrive at his house, a blue four level, beat up row house. “I’m in the basement,” he told us as we went inside. We followed him into the basement into something that I had never seen before, but saw many times afterwards. It looked like a homeless shelter. There was probably six people that lived just in the basement. Beds, cots, and sleeping bags were strewn haphazardly all over the concrete floor. Next to every bed, each person had all of there belongings, which were shockingly few. Each person had a few backpacks and bags. In the far corner, there was a card table and three chairs where two men where playing cards. There was a tv on nearby ( this was in 2004 before you had to have a HD TV, cable, or a converter box to watch television). He lead us to a bed right in the middle of everything, ” “This is me”, he told us. He proceeded to introduce us to everyone in the room, all of who were friendly and polite. After we got on Stewie asked us if we would take us to go buy some ready. “Sure,” I responded, “but is there a bathroom that I can use?” “Third floor. I’ll take you.” We were in the basement, so the third floor was actually four levels up. I was stunned as I made my way through the house. Every bedroom, living room, office was rented out. There were people sleeping, living everywhere except for the bathroom and the kitchen. There was probably 30 people living there. In the master bedroom next to the bathroom sat the lady who owned the house, Mary. Stewie introduced me and told her that I needed to use the bathroom. “Go ahead,” she said.
That house was the first time that I had seen something like that, but I went on to discover how common it was. Someone will get a house or an apartment through Section 8 and pay $50 to $100 a month. They then charge everyone $10 a night to sleep there. It’s not a bad hustle.
After I used the restroom, we loaded up the Cavalier to get the ready. “Where you want to go?” Aaron asked. “Po homes,” was the answer we got. We took him to the Po homes, a large section of projects. We went into a court yard that was essentially an open air drug market. Dudes were yelling the names of their respective dope or coke as we walked by. Since we had never copped there before, we let Stewie take the lead. We got these 20s of ready that were HUGE. We were hooked. We went on to cop there all the time for awhile and showed it to everyone. Funnily enough, everyone that we showed the PO homes to got locked up there, except for us. See since the projects are government property, they can automatically arrest you for trespassing unless you live there. You don’t have to be dirty.
After we were done getting high, and before we left, Stewie asked us if we would pick us up that night and take us out to make money. We responded in the affirmative and we came pack at around midnight. We took him to an upscale neighborhood where he would go in driveways and go into unlocked cars. You would be shocked at not only how many people keep their cars unlocked, but how much they keep in those unlocked cars. Cash, credit cards, electronics, Rolex watches. It was shocking. It was never necessary to brake into anything. Actually, you want to make sure not to break into anything as that is another, much more serious offense. Some people even leave the keys for the car in the ignition. One day after we hadn’t seen Stewie in awhile, we saw him at Flatline in an Acura that he had obtained in such manner. Driving or riding around in stolen vehicles always scared me far too much to ever even get in a car that some one else stole, let alone steal one myself.
We hung out with Stewie everyday for a few weeks. One day we showed up and he wasn’t there. He didn’t have a cell phone and we stopped seeing him, hanging out with him. The last time we saw him was that day at Flatline, where he was in the Acura. Sometime in 2007, the house that he lived in burned down, and I have no idea whatever happened to Stewie, just another name, another face in the story of my life.