Maryland drug dealer sentenced to 17 years in prison

Prince George's County Police Department, Maryland, vehicles

Tools of the trade. (Prince George’s County Police Department)

A Maryland man was sentenced to 17 years in prison after a judge ruled he was a career criminal with three gun and drug convictions, authorities announced Monday.

Jay Maurice Tharps, 33, of Capitol Heights was a felon in possession of a firearm, ammunition and drugs, which he intended to distribute, when he was arrested April 11, 2013 after police executed a search warrant on the felon’s home, according to court documents.

Tharps was standing in the main bedroom of his residence when officers with the Prince George’s County Police Department entered. They found a loaded Glock Model 26 9mm with an obliterated serial number under the bed Tharps was standing next to.

A further search yielded three more firearms, including a loaded Springfield Armory Model XD .357-caliber handgun, which was reported stolen, a loaded Colt .357-caliber revolver and a Ruger Mini-14 .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle.

Police found the handgun above the basement door leading out of the residence, the revolver on the steps leading from the steps to the bedroom and the rifle in the basement, according to court documents.

While searching the basement, police found drugs of varying types, including 84 grams of marijuana separated into three bags. Another sandwich baggie contained three separate bags of cocaine weighing 15 grams and yet another baggie contained .75 grams of powdered methylenedioxy, or “molly.” Several empty pharmaceutical gel capsules laid nearby.

Police also found a digital scale with marijuana residue on it and multiple plastic bags typically used to package and distribute narcotics, authorities said.