Local News

Man Arrested After Setting His Sisters House On Fire; Stole Neighbors Vehicle

A Waldorf man was arrested yesterday evening for setting his sister's house on fire after he made an earlier threat to do so and stole a vehicle in hopes of getting away.

Just before 10:00 p.m., Charles County Sheriff's deputies requested the Office of the State Fire Marshal to investigate a fire in the 9200 block of Kris Drive. Deputies indicated they had arrested Randall Wayne Crowder Jr., 42, shortly after he fled his sisters' house in a vehicle he had stolen from a neighbor after the house fire was reported.

Deputy State Fire Marshals responded, and during their investigation, Crowders' sister stated that he had warned the family earlier in the day to "pack their bags." The sister told investigators that before the fire, she saw Crowder on her property and then saw Crowder throw something at the side of the house. When she exited her house, she smelled a strong odor of gasoline and saw Crowder run out the back door of the basement and flames in front of the basement door. Crowder then stole a neighbor's vehicle and drove away. Charles County Sheriff's Office told investigators after they pulled over the stolen vehicle, they discovered a bag belonging to Crowder, which contained a can of butane fuel and a cigarette lighter.

"I want to thank the Charles County Sheriff's Office for their quick response and apprehension of this suspect," stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci"Every fire has the potential to hurt someone, and we're fortunate that this fire grow did not grow larger and put the family at risk," continued Geraci. 

Charles County Sheriff's Office charged Crowder with Unlawful Taking of a Vehicle, while Deputy State Fire Marshals charged him with First Degree Arson, Second Degree Malicious Burning, and Reckless Endangerment. He is currently being held at Charles County Detention Center without bond.

Cardin Votes for Historic Package of Gun Safety Legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) called Senate passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act “an important step forward today to break the decades-long gridlock on gun safety.” He said that the “legislation we passed in the Senate today will save lives and help keep our communities safer, but there are many more reasonable steps we can and should take, consistent with the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.” Senator Cardin is a cosponsor of legislation to ban assault weapons, ban high-capacity magazines and close the loophole on background checks so that all sales include one. He also supports raising the minimum age of purchasing an assault weapon to 21, in the absence of a ban.


Senator Cardin’s full statement follows:


“After the horrific shooting in Uvalde where innocent children were murdered, inaction was not an option. Congress had to do something substantive to help stem the epidemic of gun violence that is scarring our communities daily. For this reason, and for all the victims of gun violence who may not have made headlines, I was proud to vote today for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. 


“The Senate is taking an important step forward today to break the decades-long gridlock on gun safety. This legislation will save lives by boosting funding for community violence intervention (CVI) and prevention initiatives, like those underway in Baltimore. It strengthens protections for victims of domestic violence by adding convicted domestic violence abusers to background checks. It creates a new source of funding for states to implement “red flag” laws, which help to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals who should not have access to a firearm. It cracks down on criminals who try to evade licensing requirements and makes clear which gun sellers need to register, conduct background checks and keep appropriate records. It strengthens the background check process for those under 21 seeking to buy firearms, by ensuring that officials have access to juvenile and mental health records.


“We also provide much needed mental health resources to communities by providing funding to improve and expand access to mental health services. Among other provisions, it includes telehealth services for students with Medicaid and CHIP. Increasing resources for mental health services are crucial, but it is important that we not conflate mental illness and gun violence. Not every instance of gun violence is connected to mental illness and not every mental health crisis prompts the use of a weapon.


“To that end, the COVID-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear that our children need additional mental health resources offered in school. We also must significantly increase the pipeline of individuals willing to serve in those school-based mental health service positions. This legislation addresses that challenges head on and provides supplemental funding to both train new school-based mental health service providers and provide students with the specific mental health care services they require. While not able to fully meet the needs of every school currently without a counselor or mental health professional, this bill will make significant strides to ensure that a significantly greater percentage of students have access to mental health care services.


“The legislation we passed in the Senate today will save lives and help keep our communities safer, but there are many more reasonable steps we can and should take, consistent with the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. I will continue to strongly support the establishment of universal background checks for all gun purchases, the banning of assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips, and raising the minimum age to 21 to buy assault weapons, in the absence of a ban. The Senate should also act quickly to confirm the nomination of Steven Dettelbach to be the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The ATF has not had a permanent Senate-confirmed director since 2015, and the agency is sorely overdue for permanent leadership who can carry out its critical mission to stem the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, among other important priorities.”


Senator Cardin is a cosponsor of the following legislation:


·        The Background Check Expansion Act ( 529) would require checks for all gun sales, including those by unlicensed sellers.

·        The Assault Weapons Ban Act ( 736) would generally ban the sale, manufacture, transfer, and importation of assault weapons.

·        The Background Check Completion Act ( 591) would eliminate the “Charleston loophole” that allows for a sale to go forward if a check is not completed within three days.

·        The Keep Americans Safe Act ( 1108) would prohibit the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

NAS Pax Security Returns to ID Handling at Gates

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD – NAS Patuxent River gate sentries have returned to handling of IDs at gates and entry control points on base as of June 20. 


The move back to handling of IDs is in accordance with Commander, Navy Installations Command Instruction 5530.14A, which dictates physical and visual checks are to be performed on Common Access Cards (CACs) and IDs in addition to Defense Biometric Identification System (DBIDS) scans as a means of further verification of credentials. 


Pax River Security personnel had gone to a “no touch” system of checking IDs at gates as a Health Protection Condition (HPCON) measure in response to COVID. As the base has shifted to HPCON Alpha and COVID transmission rates continue to fall in the surrounding community, the installation has shifted back to handling of IDs at gates. 


“While DBIDs scanners and visual checks of IDs are effective tools in determining who has proper access to the base, physical handling of access credentials such as CACs and DOD ID cards by trained sentry personnel is an added measure to prevent visitors or those who would do us harm from using forged, expired, or otherwise invalid credentials to enter the base,” said Lt. Charles Whittenton, NAS Patuxent River Security Officer.  


Personnel and visitors are reminded to have IDs ready for inspection and scanning prior to arrival at the gate to prevent delays. 

Charles County Detention Center Director Brandon Foster Presented With DeWitt Award by Maryland Correctional Administrators Association

Sheriff Troy D. Berry is pleased to announce that Director Brandon Foster of the Charles County Detention Center (CCDC) was awarded the DeWitt Award by the Maryland Correctional Administrators Association (MCAA) at a ceremony held earlier this month.

The most prestigious award given by the MCAA, the DeWitt Award recognizes outstanding corrections professionals and their associates. The award is in honor of former Cecil County Sheriff John F. "Jack" DeWitt, who served as Sheriff of Cecil County from 1974 until 1990. He was known for being well respected by – and showing respect to – all of his deputies and correctional officers, and for instilling integrity in his office. He had a special way of making people feel comfortable and cared about. After finishing his time as Sheriff, he remained active in Corrections, served as a member on the Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards, and was a supporter of the MCAA. Each year the DeWitt Award is presented to the MCAA member who exhibits exemplary, dedicated service in the field of corrections.

Director Foster is a 25-year veteran of the CCDC. He began his career in 1997 as a line staff correctional officer. Shortly after, he became a staff instructor at the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2004 and supervised recruits in training, and he later served as a sector supervisor in the Custody and Security Section. In 2006, he was promoted to Lieutenant, overseeing a team of officers assigned to the Custody and Security Section. In 2014, Foster was named Deputy Director of the CCDC and later was named Acting Director until his appointment as Director in 2016.

Prior to joining the CCDC, Director Foster served in the United States Marine Corps as a Staff Sergeant; he was active duty from 1990 to 1995 and in the Reserves from 2003 until 2007.

“We are extremely proud and thankful for the service that Director Foster has given our community and our country,” said Sheriff Berry. “He has worked in every level of Corrections, and has been proven an outstanding leader in his time as Director of the CCDC. He is very deserving of this recognition.”

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) in 2001 and has since earned the highest rating of Excellence. Established in 1658, the CCSO is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States. For more information, visit www.ccso.us.

Charles County Crime Solvers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of a person responsible for a crime in Charles County. All individuals who provide tips through Crime Solvers will remain anonymous. Anyone with information about an unsolved crime or the location of a fugitive may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online at www.charlescountycrimesolvers.com or by using the P3Intel mobile app, which can be found in the Android Store and Apple store by searching P3tips. For more information about the P3 program, click on this link: www.p3intel.com. 

Noise Advisory - Open Air Engine Test Facility Operations June 21-July 1, 2022

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD – Communities surrounding Naval Air Station Patuxent River are advised that noise-generating testing events are scheduled to take place Tuesday, June 21, 2022 – Friday, July 01, 2022 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.  


The Open Air Engine Test Facility (OAETC) will be conducting mission critical engine runs on the outside test stand. The OAETC will attempt to conduct these engine runs in accordance with the current wind noise mitigations. Over the nine day test period there will be a total of eight hours of engine runs conducted. Residents may notice increased noise levels due to these operations. 


As with all operations, NAS Patuxent River takes precautions to lessen the impact of testing activities on the community. For more information, call 1-866-819-9028. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available for Children Ages Six Months & Older

LEONARDTOWN, MD (June 23, 2022) - The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) has updated the eligibility criteria for local COVID-19 vaccine clinics to include children ages six months to four years of age in accordance with updated authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Now authorized for ages 6 months through 17 years old (previously authorized by CDC only for adults 18 years of age and older)
  • 6 month - 5 year dosage is one-tenth of the adult dose 
  • Administered as a primary series of 2 doses (4 - 8 weeks apart)
  • Also authorized to provide a third primary series dose (1 month after 2nd dose) for individuals in this age group with compromised immune systems

 Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Now authorized for ages 6 months through 4 years old (previously authorized only for persons 5 years of age and older)
  • 6 month - 4 year dosage is one-quarter of the adult dose
  • Administered as a primary series of 3 doses (2nd dose is 3 - 8 weeks after 1st dose; 3rd dose at least 8 weeks after 2nd dose) for those 6 months through 4 years of age, including those in this age group with compromised immune systems

 SMCHD COVID-19 vaccine clinics for children age 6 months to four years old will be held in the following indoor clinical settings, by appointment only (parental presence and consent required):

COVID-19 vaccinations will not be available via drive-thru for this population. Appointments are required and a parent or guardian must be present for vaccination. Visit smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine/clinics-kids for more information, clinic schedules, and to make an appointment. Please review the allergy guidance and the FAQs for SMCHD COVID-19 Vaccination prior to registering for a vaccine appointment. Vaccines for this age group may also be available through local health care providers; please contact your child’s primary care provider for more information.
“Fortunately, thus far children have had a lower likelihood of severe illness from COVID-19 compared to adults. Still, thousands of U.S. children have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 illness. As a parent, I know how important it is to consider all options available to help keep my children healthy and protected from severe illness and hospitalization. With new virus strains emerging and the uncertainty around future strains, parents may want to optimize protection for their kids by getting them vaccinated," said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “I encourage parents to consider vaccinating their children who are six months and older in order to help protect them, their families, and our community. Consider speaking with your child's personal medical provider if you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccine for your individual child.”
For more information, please visit smchd.org/covid-19-vaccine or call the SMCHD COVID-19 Community Hotline at (301) 475-4330. 

SMECO Issues Credits to Members General Refund Totals $4.7 million

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) is refunding members’ capital credits totaling nearly $7.1 million. Of that total, a general refund of approximately $4.7 million will be issued in July. Eligible active members will receive credits on their bills, and checks will be issued to eligible former members. Special refunds of about $2.4 million will be paid throughout the year to include estates of deceased members.

SMECO’s margins for 2021 totaled more than $24 million. SMECO uses margins—revenue minus expenses—as working capital for new construction, system improvements, and facility upgrades. Sonja M. Cox, SMECO president and CEO, explained, “Our members help to finance SMECO’s operations, and they can be assured that we are investing in infrastructure and technology that will benefit them.”

Cox added, “SMECO customers invest in their cooperative every time they pay their bill, and we are responsible for keeping the lights on. But, because our customers are our members, we also exercise a basic cooperative principle by sharing a portion of SMECO’s margins with them.” SMECO’s margins are based on the cooperative’s revenue and expenses, not the cost of energy. While the cost of energy has increased over the last year, SMECO makes no profit on energy costs, and energy rates have no impact on SMECO’s margins.

At the end of each year, SMECO’s margins are allocated to a special account for each member, based on how much electricity the member purchased and the rate at which the account was billed. SMECO’s Board of Directors regularly evaluates the financial condition of the cooperative and determines when SMECO members’ capital credits will be refunded. Refunds will be credited to members’ bills beginning July 11 and checks will be mailed to eligible former members beginning July 25.

All eligible active members will receive a credit on the bill for their primary account. If members wish to contact SMECO to designate their primary account, they may call 1-888-440-3311. Eligible former members will receive a full refund of the balance in their capital credit account if the balance is $100 or less. Any remaining balances attributable to allocations made in the year 1988 will also be issued to eligible members and former members. Whenever SMECO members move out of the co-op’s service area, they should contact SMECO to update their mailing address in order to receive refund checks in the future. 


SMECO - The Cooperative Difference –

SMECO was incorporated in 1937 and is one of the 15 largest electric cooperatives in the United States with more than 170,000 member accounts in Charles County, St. Mary’s County, southern Prince George’s County, and most of Calvert County. 

Electric cooperatives are shaped by the communities they serve, because co-ops are owned by their customers.  Co-op members elect the men and women who serve on the Board of Directors. Members share the responsibility of ownership by financing the cooperative’s operations, but they also share its rewards.

At the end of each year, SMECO’s margins (profits) are allocated to members’ capital credit accounts. SMECO uses its profits to invest in new construction, system improvements, and facility upgrades. The Board of Directors regularly evaluates the financial condition of the co-op and determines when members will receive a refund. Since 1937, SMECO has refunded more than $116 million.

As a cooperative, SMECO will always put its members first and be responsive, reliable, and resourceful—the power you can count on.

Follow SMECO on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SMECO.coop and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/somdelectric. 

The SMECO 24/7 mobile app is available at www.smeco.coop/247.

Calvert County Sheriff's Office Incident Report

During the week of June 13, 2022 – June 19, 2022, deputies of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1,441 calls for service throughout the community.


Burglary: 22-35185

On June 19, 2022, Deputy Contic responded to the 9300 block of River View Road in Broomes Island, MD for report of a burglary that had already occurred. The complainant advised unknown suspect (s) cut the locks off a trailer parked in front of the residence and from a shed on the property. The estimated value of the damaged property is $45. Nothing appears to have been stolen.

Damaged Property: 22-33910


On June 13, 2022, Deputy Aley responded to the 7700 block of Parkers Wharf Road in St. Leonard, MD, for the report of property destruction. The complainant advised sometime between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., unknown suspect (s) vandalized the victim’s mailbox. The estimated value of the damaged property is $60.00


Indecent Exposure: 22-34809


On June 17, 2022, Deputy Aley responded to 240 W. Dares Beach Road in Prince Frederick, MD, for the report of a male urinating in public. Witnesses stated a black male exited a white SUV and entered the store to purchase a bag of chips. The suspect then left the store and proceeded to urinate in the middle of the gas station parking lot. The suspect is described as a black male with white hair, approximately 5'5” - 5'6” tall, weighing 150 lbs., wearing a white shirt and blue jeans.


Theft: 22-34220


On June 14, 2022, DFC T. Buckler responded to the 900 block of Guadeloupe Trail in Lusby, MD, for a reported theft from a motor vehicle. The complainant advised sometime between June 10 at 8 p.m. and June 12 at 2:30 p.m., unknown suspect (s) stole $400 in cash from an unlocked vehicle parked outside the residence. The victim observed his backpack that was originally inside the vehicle laying on the asphalt with its contents strewn about. No other items were taken.


Theft: 22-34952


On June 18, 2022, Deputy Plant responded to the Safeway located at 10276 Southern Maryland Blvd. in Dunkirk, MD, for the report of a theft. The complainant advised her purse and its contents was stolen from her unlocked vehicle as she returned her cart to a nearby cart return. The total value of stolen property is $635.00.

Theft: 22-35158

On June 19, 2022, Deputy A. Dymond responded to the Wal-Mart Store located at 10600 Town Center Boulevard in Dunkirk, MD, for a reported theft. Investigation revealed a male suspect entered the hardware section of the store and obtained a pair of bolt cutters and utilized them to break into a locked case containing headphones. The suspect proceeded to take seven pairs of headphones valued at $214 each and fled on foot from the Walmart. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’5” – 5’6” tall, wearing a black hoodie, black pants, and black shoes. The suspect appeared to be between 25 and 35 years old. The total value of the stolen property is $1,498.00.



On June 12, 2022, a burglary was reported in a commercial building in the 2900 block of Penwick Lane in Dunkirk, MD. Investigation revealed Michael Joseph Keller, 59 of no fixed address, attempted to enter the building, but realized it was locked. Keller manipulated the lock on the door and made entry. Keller had been previously trespassed from the property. Deputy Tavares located Keller where he admitted to the incident. Keller was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with Burglary- 4th Degree/Dwelling and Trespassing: Private Property.


On June 13, 2022, at 9:43 a.m., Deputy Jones responded to the 7-11 located at 685 Prince Frederick Blvd. in Prince Frederick, MD for the report of two individuals passed out behind the wheel at the gas pumps. Deputies arrived on scene and observed citizens knocking on the window of the vehicle, attempting to wake up the driver. Deputy Jones observed the driver, Kaitlyn Marie Chenault, 24 of Baltimore, MD, nodding out. The driver and passenger, David Dale Adams, Jr., 31 of Halethorpe, MD, were asked to exit the vehicle. A vehicle search revealed five crack pipes containing suspected crack and residue, two plastic tie-offs containing a white powdery substance, one cut straw, and three pills containing an unknown substance. Adams was placed under arrest and transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with CDS: Possession – Not Marijuana and CDS: Possession of Paraphernalia. Chenault was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where she was charged with CDS: Possession-Not Marijuana and other traffic related charges.

On June 17, 2022, Deputy Grierson responded to the area of Rt. 260 and Bayside Road in Chesapeake Beach, MD, for the welfare check of an individual who appeared intoxicated and was walking around with his pants down. Deputies observed the suspect running on foot through several fenced-in backyards of residences in the area and was seen urinating in the parking lot of West Marina. Contact with made with Daniel Eric Hernandez, 27 of no fixed address, who attempted to flee on foot. Hernandez was placed into custody where he attempted to bite DFC R. Shrawder. Hernandez was transported to the Calvert County Detention Center where he was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Intoxicated Public Disturbance, Second-Degree Assault, Resist/Interfering with Arrest, and Indecent Exposure.



National Education Center for Agricultural Safety Is Awarding Local Fire Departments With Grain Rescue Tubes

Grain bin accidents send shockwaves through rural communities as farmers and grain handlers know all too well how quickly entering a grain bin can turn deadly. To help prevent these accidents that result in dozens of lives lost each year, The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) is providing life-saving resources to rural America’s first responders.

The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), is awarding 58 fire departments across the country with grain rescue tubes and hands-on training to prepare them to respond when local grain entrapments occur.

After receiving more than 1,800 nominations across 45 states in the annual Nominate Your Fire Department Contest, a key piece of Nationwide’s Grain Bin Safety advocacy campaign, the insurer and its partners are proud to award grain rescue tubes and training to the following Maryland fire departments:

  1.  Bel Alton Volunteer Fire Department and EMS Co 10, Bel Alton, MD
  2.   Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association, Westminster, MD
  3.   Hebron Volunteer Fire Department, Hebron, MD
  4.  Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department, Leonardtown, MD
  5.  Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire District, Mechanicsville, MD 
  6.   Preston Volunteer Fire Company, Preston, MD

NECAS, based out of Peosta, IA, will deliver the rescue tubes and training to the winning fire departments throughout 2022, traveling to each location with state-of-the-art grain entrapment simulators and rescue tubes. The comprehensive training sessions include classroom education and rescue simulations using the entrapment tools, which are loaded onto 20-foot trailers and able to hold about 100 bushels of grain each. 


St. Mary's County Government Seeks Nominations for Commission for People With Disabilities Awards

LEONARDTOWN, MD - St. Mary’s County Government is seeking nominations for the 2022 St. Mary’s County Commission for People with Disabilities Awards Program. 

This annual awards program recognizes individuals and businesses who promote awareness and work to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Submit nominations by email to Cynthia Slattery. Nomination details and categories are available at www.stmarysmd.com/docs/Commission_for_People_with_Disabilities_2022_Awards_Brochure.pdf.

The deadline for nomination submission is Sept. 1, 2022. The awards will be presented during a Commissioner meeting in October.

For more information or to submit a nomination, please contact St. Mary’s County Government Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator Cynthia Slattery with any questions at Cynthia.Slattery@stmarysmd.com.

Great Mills Man Arrested for Armed Robbery

On June 13, 2022, deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 21200 block of Mayfaire Lane in Lexington Park, for the reported robbery. The victim advised she met the suspect in the parking lot and got into his vehicle to purchase property. During the transaction, the suspect produced a firearm and threatened the victim and stole U.S. currency from the victim. Investigation determined the suspect involved to be Jaonta Amin Thompson, age 21 of Great Mills.


On June 21, 2022, Thompson was located and arrested. Thompson was transported to the St. Mary’s County Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Leonardtown, and charged with the following:


Armed Robbery


Assault First Degree

Assault Second Degree


Thompson remains incarcerated at the detention center on a no-bond status.


Citizens may remain anonymous and contact Crime Solvers at (301) 475-3333, or text a tip to “TIP239” plus their message to “CRIMES” (274637). Through the Crime Solvers Program tipsters are eligible for an award of up to $1,000 for information about a crime in St. Mary’s County that leads to an arrest or indictment.


For official news and information, follow the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter @firstsheriff.

Noise Advisory - Noise Advisory – Helicopter Test Flights Scheduled Nights of June 20-22, 2022

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION, MD – Communities surrounding the NAS Patuxent River and Webster Field airfields are advised that helicopter nighttime testing events are scheduled to take place June 20 through June 22, 2022 from 7 p.m. – midnight. 


As with all operations, NAS Patuxent River takes precautions to lessen the impact of testing activities on the community. For more information call 1-866-819-9028. 

Calvert County News Alert - Incorrect Sample Ballots

The Calvert County Election Board advises that due to a technical issue, voters may have been mailed an incorrect sample ballot. New sample ballots are being printed and will be mailed as soon as possible. The corrected sample ballots will say “Corrected” on the outside.


Mail-in ballots are not affected, nor will this issue affect in-person ballots received during early voting or on primary election day, July 19, 2022.

Constituents may contact the Election Board at 410-535-2214 or elections@calvertcountymd.gov with questions.

Loaded Firearm Recovered During Traffic Stop

Loaded Firearm Recovered during Traffic Stop: On June 18 at 10:48 p.m., a patrol officer initiated a traffic stop in the 200 block of Kent Avenue in La Plata. During the stop, the officer recovered marijuana and a loaded firearm, which the driver is prohibited from possessing due to his age. The driver, Camilo Frost Garcia, 18, of White Plains, was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, illegally transporting a firearm, and other related charges. On June 19, Garcia was released from the Charles County Detention Center by a district court commissioner after paying 10% of a $2,500 bond. Officer Kerlin investigated.

Officers Recover Fully Loaded Firearm during Traffic Stop

Officers Recover Loaded Handgun during Traffic Stop: On June 13 at 2 a.m., officers initiated a traffic stop in the area of Post Office Road and Catterton Place after learning the registration plates were suspended. During the course of the stop, officers observed marijuana inside the car and recovered it. The driver and passenger were asked to exit the vehicle at which time the passenger fled. He was apprehended a short distance away and was found to be in possession of a fully-loaded semi-automatic handgun with a loaded 30-round magazine. Charles Edward Gross, 20, of Indian Head, was arrested and charged with illegal possession of a firearm, illegal transportation of a firearm, and other related charges. The driver was issued several traffic violations. On June 16, a district court commissioner released Gross from the Charles County Detention Center after he paid 10% of a $1,500 bond. PFC Phillips is investigating.


LEONARDTOWN, MD - NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County will hold a Public Hearing Tuesday June 28th, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. in the Chesapeake Building located at 41770 Baldridge Street in Leonardtown to consider public input on the Snow Hill Master Plan. The plan can be viewed at http://www.stmarysmd.com/publichearing.asp


Those wishing to address the Commissioners may participate in-person, email, written correspondence, or prerecorded video submissions. The public hearing may be viewed on SMCG Channel 95 or the SMCG YouTube Channel.


In lieu of appearance, comments may be submitted by:

a.) Email: csmc@stmarysmd.com

b.) U.S. Mail: P.O. Box 653 Leonardtown, Maryland 20650

c.) Submit a 3-minute video clip to publicmtgs@stmarysmd.com no later than 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 5, 2022.


All submissions will be considered by the Commissioners at the Public Hearing and/or seven (7) days following the Public Hearing.


Public Hearing Guidelines are subject to change.


Appropriate accommodations for individuals with special needs will be provided upon request. In order to meet these requirements, we respectfully ask for one week’s prior notice. Please contact the County Commissioners Office at 301-475-4200, Ext. 1340. Proceedings are televised live and/or recorded for later broadcast on television. All content of these proceedings is subject to disclosure under the Maryland Public Information Act. Photographic and electronic audio and visual broadcasting and recording devices are used during the Commissioners’ meetings. These are public meetings and attendance at these meetings automatically grants St. Mary’s County Government permission to broadcast your audio and visual image.

Charles County Government July Holiday Schedule

The County Administrator wishes to remind residents of changes to operating schedules for the month of July: 

Monday, July 4 (Independence Day)

  • All Charles County Government offices and the Tri-County Animal Shelter in Hughesville will be closed.
  • The Charles County Landfill and all recycling centers will be closed.
  • Curbside recycling and yard waste collection will be delayed one day for the remaining week, Tuesday, July 5 through Saturday, July 9.
  • VanGO services will not be operating.
  • The Nanjemoy Community Center, senior centers, Port Tobacco Recreation Center, Elite Gymnastics, and all school-based community centers are closed.
  • All pools will be open noon -5 p.m. for open swim (Lackey, Donald M. Wade Aquatic Center, North Point, McDonough, La Plata, and Thomas Stone High Schools).


Operating status for other County affiliated agencies:


For questions about County Government holiday closures, contact the Public Information Office at 301-885-2779 or PressRoom@CharlesCountyMD.gov.  Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.

CCSO Announces 2022 Citizens Police Academy

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is now accepting applications for its 2022 Citizens Police Academy (CPA) class, set to begin in September. This 12-week program will begin on September 14, 2022, and will be held on Wednesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. through December 7, 2022, with the exception of Wednesday, November 23. The classes will be held in various locations, to include the CCSO Headquarters, District 3 Station, Community Services Annex, Crime Lab, Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy, and the Charles County Courthouse.


“We’re thrilled to bring the Citizens Police Academy back for our seventh year,” said Sheriff Troy Berry. “This invaluable program gives community members the chance to go behind the scenes and learn what it takes to be a police officer, and it affords us the opportunity to connect with citizens and understand their perception of law enforcement. This is an important tool that we use to continue to enhance the relationship between police and the communities we serve.”

Participants will learn about a wide range of topics, including:
•             Patrol Procedures
•             Narcotics Investigations
•             Forensic Evidence
•             Criminal Law
•             Juvenile Issues
•             Use of Force
•             Criminal Investigations
•             Search and Seizure

Participants will get hands-on experiences to include a Firearms Training Simulator (FATS) and crime scene processing. They will also have the opportunity to ride with a police officer and to experience policing from an officer’s perspective. Participation in the Ride-along Program is not required but is strongly encouraged.

The Citizens Police Academy is a valuable opportunity for anyone who is interested in learning more about the realities of policing. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and residents of Charles County. Individuals who wish to apply will be subject to a background check. This program is free of charge. There are a limited number of seats available, so anyone interested in participating in the CPA should submit their application as soon as possible. 

Additional information and applications for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Police Academy can be found on our website. Applications are due no later than July 31, 2022, and should be mailed to: 

Charles County Sheriff’s Office
6915 Crain Highway
PO Box 189
La Plata, MD 20646
Attn: Human Resources

Additional questions about the program or application process should be directed to Captain Robert Kiesel at KieselR@ccso.us.


The Charles County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) in 2001 and has since earned the highest rating of Excellence. Established in 1658, the CCSO is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States. For more information, visit www.ccso.us.

Charles County Crime Solvers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of a person responsible for a crime in Charles County. All individuals who provide tips through Crime Solvers will remain anonymous. Anyone with information about an unsolved crime or the location of a fugitive may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online at www.charlescountycrimesolvers.com or by using the P3Intel mobile app, which can be found in the Android Store and Apple store by searching P3tips. For more information about the P3 program, click on this link: www.p3intel.com. 


Van Hollen, Cardin, Hoyer, Brown Announce Continued Viability of Maryland FBI HQ Sites

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer and Anthony Brown (all D-Md.) released the following statement announcing the General Services Administration’s finding that the two Maryland sites proposed for the new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters remain viable options for the new consolidated campus:


“Today’s GSA finding that the two Maryland FBI campus sites remain viable options to meet the needs of the Bureau is another positive step towards our goal of securing a new, consolidated headquarters. For far too long, the FBI workforce has remained in a building that does not meet their security or operational needs. That’s why we will keep pushing for the new headquarters, and we are confident that the Maryland sites in Greenbelt and Landover are the best locations. We urge the GSA to work quickly, in accordance with the provisions we secured in the Omnibus law enacted in March, to select a final headquarters location this fall.”


Since 2004, the FBI has been working towards a new consolidated headquarters with the GSA. Such a facility would bring together the headquarters employees currently located at the Hoover Building with others in leased locations around the National Capital Region. During the Obama Administration, the GSA and the FBI identified two sites in Maryland that met the needs of the FBI for a new headquarters – Greenbelt and Landover. The Trump Administration abruptly stopped work on this process, negating nearly 14 years of planning and advocacy, and suggested that the FBI’s needs be served by tearing down the current building and building a new headquarters on the existing site. The Trump plan would have failed to provide adequate security for the FBI community and would not have met critical needs. Given these concerns, the Congressional delegation fought throughout the Trump Administration to preserve the FBI headquarters project at the three original sites, as defined by years of study and a Congressionally-approved prospectus.


The members of the Maryland Congressional delegation successfully included language in the FY2022 omnibus package to advance the process for constructing a new, consolidated FBI headquarters project. This language required the GSA to provide today’s update on the viability of the three sites and requires the GSA to select a site for the FBI that will meet the FBI’s needs today and into the future. 

SMCHD Preparing Locally for Emerging Public Health Issue of Monkeypox

The St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) is enhancing surveillance and public health preparedness activities to monitor the emerging public health issue of monkeypox and to prepare for a local response if needed. Yesterday, the Maryland Department of Health announced the first presumed case of human monkeypox virus infection in a Maryland resident; there are no presumed or confirmed cases in St. Mary’s County at this time. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating multiple cases of monkeypox in several states. 

Monkeypox is a viral illness with symptoms similar to but typically milder than smallpox. Symptoms typically begin with enlarged lymph nodes, fever, or headache and progress to a rash that involves firm skin lesions over face and/or body that may blister and fill with pus. The illness generally lasts 2 - 4 weeks and people are contagious from the onset of early symptoms (such as fever) through the complete healing of the body rash (all lesions scab over and fall off). Classic symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • Fever, chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Rash (usually occurring within 1 – 3 days after the appearance of fever) - skin lesions over face and body that are firm and progress through stages of being filled with clear fluid, filled with pus, and then crusting/scabbing over

Monkeypox can be transmitted when a person comes into contact with an infected animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus. Person-to-person spread can happen through direct contact with the skin lesions or respiratory droplets/secretions during close contact. Monkeypox does not spread easily between people without close contact. The threat of monkeypox to the general population remains low at this time. 

Historically, the majority of monkeypox cases have been reported in western and central Africa where associated fatalities have been as high as 10% of cases. More recently, the World Health Organization has been monitoring a multi-national outbreak of monkeypox cases not associated with travel to western/central Africa, raising the concern for community spread of the illness outside of Africa. Some of these cases have atypical symptoms. Early symptoms of fever, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes might not occur prior to the rash. The rash could be specific to a part of the body, such as the mouth or genitals, rather than spread all over. 

Anyone with a rash that may seem similar to the monkeypox rash should avoid contact with others and talk to their healthcare provider, even if they do not recall contact with someone who has monkeypox. People who may be at higher risk include those who:

  • Had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox
  • Had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application, or social event (e.g., a bar or party)
  • Traveled outside the U.S. to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing
  • Had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that exists only in Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)

“At this time we do not have any confirmed cases of monkeypox in St. Mary’s County,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer.  “Fortunately, this is a previously known illness with some tools available for public health outbreak control and treatment. SMCHD is closely monitoring development of the worldwide and state situation, including scientific understanding of the current virus involved, and preparing to deploy a local public health response if needed. Community members can stay informed and notify their primary healthcare provider if they have a personal health concern about monkeypox.”

Local health care providers who encounter a patient with illness or rash suspicious for monkeypox, or who identify exposure to a confirmed/probable monkeypox case should immediately contact the St. Mary’s County Health Department at (301) 475-4330 and ask for the Infectious Disease Program. Testing and reporting guidance has been issued to local health care providers via the St. Mary’s County Local Health Alert Network and are available online at: smchd.org/monkeypox/providers

For more information on monkeypox, please visit: smchd.org/monkeypox

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