CBS4 in Miami shared an interesting story recently about a man who swallowed 20 rocks of crack and then led police on a wild chase that ended in the Florida Keys.

The suspect, Mark Edward Welch (50), led multiple law enforcement agencies on a wild chase that ended in the Upper Keys in the middle of June 2019. Welch wound up being involved in a hit-and-run accident and fled the mainland towards the Keys. On U.S. 1 South, Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies deployed spike strips in an attempt to stop Welch. He ran over them and continued south with flat tires. About one mile down the road, Welch plowed into a concrete wall near Jewfish Creek Bridge and came to a stop.

Welch was ordered out of his vehicle by officers with their guns pointed at him, but he ignored those orders. Welch was taken into custody by officers on the scene without any other incident. He proceeded to inform officers that a woman was in the vehicle with him. They looked, but found no woman. Instead, they discovered a pipe and cocaine.

Not long after the search of the vehicle, Welch told deputies that he ingested 20 rocks of crack. He also said he had been smoking crack since early that morning. Welch told officers some of the crack was stuck in his throat, which resulted in his transport to a hospital.

Welch has been hit with charges of eluding law enforcement, driving under the influence (DUI), and possession of drug paraphernalia and cocaine. According to Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies, more charges are pending against Welch due to other agencies being involved in the chase.

As a criminal defense lawyer, I say this with absolute certainty: Florida is a gift. It truly is.

Drug crimes in Maryland

If you have 20 rocks of crack in your body, you’re probably going to jail (or a morgue, if you don’t get that pumped out). Maybe not as much jail as you would have in the pre-First Step Act era, but still – like, a lot of jail. Because that’s a lot of crack. But notice that Welch was charged with cocaine possession, so let’s start there.

Under Maryland law, the penalties for possession of cocaine (the powered version), or any other drug that is not marijuana, are as follows:

  • Misdemeanor
  • No more than four years in prison
  • No more than a fine of $25,000

For possession of drug paraphernalia, the penalties in Maryland are as follows:

  • No more than four years in prison
  • No more than a fine of $25,000

This charge must come with the intent to use or actual use must have occurred.

If you get high on crack and take the police on a wild goose chase that ends with you hitting a wall and talking to an imaginary woman, you’re REALLY going to need an attorney. At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, we have close to 20 years of experience representing clients who have been charged with various crimes. If you are facing drug charges in Annapolis, Ellicott City, or Centreville, be sure to call our office in Annapolis at 410-777-8103 or complete the contact form online to schedule a consultation.

And remember – Keep Calm, and Call Drew.