Baltimore police have arrested a couple who run a liquor store near Lexington Market, along with five others, in a bust that netted cash, narcotics, ammunition and more.
Officers served a warrant yesterday at the Eutaw Liquor Store, located at 117 N. Eutaw Street, after receiving a tip that the store was moving drugs. Police said they first used confidential informants to make controlled purchases before serving the warrant.
In a subsequent raid, officers recovered around $12,000 in cash, four rounds of shotgun shells, 56 baggies of weed, 24 blue-top vials of crack cocaine, 16 bags with more crack cocaine, a digital scale and razors, police spokesman T.J. Smith said. Informants also purchased suboxone, an opioid-dependence medication that can be abused by users.
Police arrested owner Seung Ryu, 51, his wife, A.E. Kim, 45, both of Columbia, and four employees and a 57-year-old man who was in the store and allegedly had heroin on him at the time. Smith said Ryu had kept a firearm nearby that was legally purchased, but was illegally stored given that it was accessible to several of his employees with prior burglary and murder convictions.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa, who was confirmed as Kevin Davis’ replacement roughly one month ago, said the raid was particularly notable because it was facilitated by a tip from a community members, and because the store was feeding drugs into the neighborhood surrounding Lexington Market, which he described as a “challenged area.”
“We’re really trying to expedite how we fight the violence in the city,” he said, “and if there’s businesses that choose to operate outside the law, we’re gonna come after them.”
Deputy Commissioner Gary Tuggle, who left his post atop the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s Philadelphia division to join the department earlier this month, said there were “no limits” on the drugs that the owners of the Eutaw Liquor Store sold.
“These are the types of illegal businesses that give good business in the city a bad, bad name,” he said.
Police Lt. Steve Olson, who leads patrol units around Lexington Market, said police believe the liquor store’s drug supplier was dropping off illicit products regularly, though they don’t think the store was supplying street dealers.
The department plans to padlock the business, as it has done with gas stations and other businesses in the city found to have been trafficking in drugs or facilitating violence.