Police Take Down Drug Distribution 'Family' in St. Mary's - Southern Maryland Headline News

Police Take Down Drug Distribution 'Family' in St. Mary's


By somd.com Staff Writers

Melvin Price, a/k/a Buddha
Melvin Price, a/k/a Buddha
Reginald Price, a/k/a Ricky
Reginald Price, a/k/a Ricky
Christi Mayhew
Christi Mayhew
John Fitzgerald Butler
John Fitzgerald Butler
Patrick Neal Tennyson
Patrick Neal Tennyson
Jared Jameson
Jared Jameson
Bonnie Sue Lumpkins
Bonnie Sue Lumpkins
These seven individuals were arrested Thursday, January 27, in St. Mary's Co. as part of Operation "The Price is Right."  All but Butler were arrested on drug-related charges.  Butler was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time - he was wanted for failure to pay his child support. (Arrest photos) 

CALIFORNIA, Md. (January 29, 2011) — Police on Thursday raided two homes and arrested seven people — three for selling illegal drugs, three for buying illegal drugs from undercover officers, and one man wanted for "Failure to Pay Child Support." Police termed the operation, "The Price is Right" after the targets of the investigation, the "Price Family" who reside in the Clements, St. Mary's County, area.

The raids were the culmination of a two month-long investigation by detectives from the St. Mary's County Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) Narcotics Division.

Police say Melvin Jerome Price, a/k/a "Buddha" and Reginald Allen Price, a/k/a "Ricky," the two main subjects of the investigation, are distributors of marijuana, heroin, hashish, and cocaine. Both Prices have prior arrests for drugs. Reginald was recently released from prison for a felony drug conviction and is still on parole.

One search warrant targeted the Price home in Clements, while a second warrant targeted a Lexington Park residence. Detectives say they have executed search and seizure warrants at the Clements home before and have arrested several of the same suspects involved in this latest investigation.

The Lexington Park residence, occupied by Christi Mayhew, a girlfriend of Melvin Price, was utilized in the alleged drug distribution network, according to police. Police say they recovered marijuana, which was packaged for distribution, from the house. Mayhew was arrested and charged. Police also notified the St. Mary's County Housing Administration about her arrest.

The search warrant on the Mayhew residence was executed by the St. Mary's County Emergency Services Team, Sheriff's Office K-9 officers, Vice Narcotics detectives, and support team members.

Police say Price had left the residence prior to their arrival, but was subsequently stopped by detectives and support team members. More than $9,700 in cash and his 1996 Chrysler Town and Country automobile were seized.

The warrant team, now assisted by the Calvert County Sheriff's Office Special Operation Team, moved on to the Price home in Clements.

Once inside, police say they observed Price flushing an item in the toilet. Detectives say they removed the toilet and gained access to the foundation where a large amount of heroin and crack cocaine was recovered. Also during the search, nearly one half pound of marijuana packaged for distribution, packaging materials, scales, and approximately $6,000 in cash were seized.

A wanted suspect, John Fitzgerald Butler, age 46, of Leonardtown, was also located inside the residence. Butler was wanted for "Failure to Pay Child Support."

After arresting the suspects, detectives, assisted by the Maryland State Police Drug Enforcement Division, setup a drug sales sting operation by posing as the dealers outside the home. According to citizen complaints it was normal practice that the suspects would "set up shop" outside the home.

Police say three individuals arrived separately and purchased placebo cocaine from the undercover officers, at which time they were arrested. Those arrested were identified as Jared Jameson, age 49, of Avenue; Patrick Neal Tennyson, age 46, of Mechanicsville; and Bonnie Sue Lumpkins, age 46, of Avenue.

Police say additional charges are pending against all involved.

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