Crime

PORT DEPOSIT — A man is facing felony charges after he allegedly pointed a replica gun at a rival and then hit him with it during a Port Deposit-area fight – a scuffle that started when the alleged victim accused the suspect of selling him “fake marijuana,” according to Cecil County District Court records.

Lt. Michael Holmes of the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 600 block of Jacob Tome Memorial Highway at approximately 8 p.m. on Saturday, after members of the Water Witch Volunteer Fire Co. of Port Deposit saw two men fighting in the middle of that road while they were traveling in a fire truck, police said.

The driver stopped the fire truck and called 911, alerting to a fight in progress “with a possible gun,” police added.

CCSO Deputy Caleb Griffitts arrived at the scene shortly after Holmes did, police noted.

The investigation revealed that the suspect, Port Deposit-area resident James Ryan Poole, 18, allegedly sold an acquaintance, also 18, bogus marijuana for $120 and that Poole pulled a gun and pointed it when the alleged victim “confronted Poole to get his money back,” court records allege.

Holmes recovered a black replica U.S. Combat 1911 air-soft gun, which he found lying in the road close to where the fight had occurred, according to court records. After allegedly pointing that toy gun at the alleged victim, Poole dropped the replica and started fighting with him, court records allege.

Also at the scene, Holmes recovered a plastic baggie containing “a brown leafy substance that appeared to be tobacco” and six twenty dollar bills, police reported.

Poole and the alleged victim – he was not charged in the case – were detained and were transported to CCSO’s headquarters near Elkton, where they were interviewed separately.

The alleged victim gave a written account of the incident, according to court records.

“I wanted weed, he was willing to provide. We meet up on the highway, we do the deal. I found out it is fake and I turn around to confront him about it and get my refund from him. He then pulls out a gun, and I fear for my life,” the alleged victim’s written statement begins.

After a few seconds, however, the alleged victim determined that it was safe to further push for a refund, court records show.

“So I waited to see if he was going to fire and he doesn’t. So I reach out to take my money out of his pocket and then he strikes me with the gun and, out of self defense, I fight back and that’s when the fire department showed up,” the alleged victim outlines in his written statement.

The alleged victim told Griffitts that he had purchased marijuana from Poole “multiple times” in the past and that, until Saturday night, there had never been an issue, police said. He also told the investigator that Poole punched him in the head several times during the fight, causing soreness to his head and neck, police added.

After placing the alleged victim in a holding cell, Griffitts then interviewed Poole, who also had been held in cell. Poole provided a written statement in which he made some admissions and painted the alleged victim as the aggressor, court records allege.

“He texted me and we meet up. I needed some money because I was in a bad spot and understand what I did was stupid, but I did it and gave this guy fake ‘weed,’ but it was tobacco and I was leaving and I gave him my bike to get home and (he) tried to swing on me,” Poole’s written statement begins.

Then Poole maintains, “I pull an air-soft gun to try to scare him away so I could get home and he attacked me to the ground and I dropped the weapon and tried to get him off me because we was in the road (and) that’s when the fire department came.”

Contrasting one of the assertions made by the alleged victim, Poole contended that he had never sold marijuana to anyone until the drug-deal-gone-bad that occurred Saturday night, police said. But when questioned more by Griffitts, who mentioned that the alleged victim had given a contradictory statement, Poole changed his answer, police added.

“He admitted to lying and stated he has sold weed in the past couple of months,” court records allege.

After that interview, Griffitts arrested Poole and escorted him back to the holding cell, according to court records.

The deputy then escorted the alleged victim to the front door of CCSO’s headquarters, told him that “he was free to go,” and referred him to the Cecil County District Court commissioner if he wanted to file for a peace order against Poole, court records show.

Griffitts took photographs of the air-soft gun, the baggie containing tobacco and the $120, packaged those items in accordance with CCSO policy and placed them in the agency’s evidence room, police reported.

Scheduled for a Dec. 18 preliminary hearing, Poole is facing four criminal charges, including first-degree assault and distribution of a counterfeit drug, both of which are felonies, according to court records.

Poole, who spent two nights in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond, posted a $3,000 bond on Monday to gain his pre-trial freedom, court records show. He did so shortly after his bail review hearing earlier that day, according to court records.

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