MURDER USA: “NOW HIRING HOOKAH HITMAN”
Anoop Aggarwal Sits in Slammer Charged with
Trying to Rub Out Waldorf Businessman
By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
NEWS ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY ON TRUE CRIME
WALDORF, MD. – When a guy who police say just likes to deal in drugs and stolen property in order to make a living decided to dip into a little homicide, the suspect piqued the interest of the Fearless Fosdicks of the Charles County Sheriff’s Department. During the investigation by the Charles County Detectives into the alleged crooked dealings of Anoop Aggarwal, the events of the last few years culminated in the budding young businessman and alleged home-grown mobster attempting to hire a hitman to get even with a person he believed was behind him being denied a Charles County liquor license for a Hookah Lounge in Waldorf.
According to police, on March 5, 2020, Anoop Aggarwal, 22, (DOB 07/07/1997) of 2628 Meadowsweet Drive, Waldorf, Md., was arrested by detectives with the Charles County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigations Division and Narcotics Enforcement Section, along with Special Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division, in connection with solicitation to murder a local businessman.
According to Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry, Detectives were notified about the murder-for-hire plot while conducting another criminal investigation into Aggarwal.
Police say that the investigation was initiated in mid-February during a time when Aggarwal was allegedly selling and trading cocaine to people in exchange for stolen property – evidently, actions which are fitting, right and proper for wannabe gangsters, and still the types of nefarious activities which can result in prison terms.
Police say that detectives learned of the alleged solicitation and immediately pursued additional leads which led investigators to obtain multiple search warrants at various locations connected to the suspect. During the searches, detectives recovered a large amount of money, contraband, narcotics, and other items.
“This is an excellent example of how our detectives were able to work collectively with our federal partners and the Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office to bring this potentially dangerous situation to a quick closure, preventing anybody from being harmed,” said Sheriff Troy D. Berry.
Aggarwal has hired the services of Waldorf attorney James Farmer to defend him in Charles County Circuit Court in a bail bond hearing on March 9, 2020 and a preliminary hearing to appropriately be held on April Fool’s Day.
Aggarwal was charged with solicitation to kill and murder a person and two counts of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. He is currently being held in the Charles County Jail with no bond. The Sheriff is not identifying the intended victim.
Aggarwal very wisely passed up the services of the free attorney from the public defender’s office when he was deemed eligible for a public defender – perhaps the free attorney was offered due to Aggarwal not disclosing any possible income from alleged fencing or drug dealing.
VIDEO from Board of License Commissioners meeting when liquor license was denied
GETTING BUMMED OUT OVER
DENIAL OF LIQUOR LICENSE
Charles County detectives aren’t revealing who was the intended victim but did identify him as “a local businessman” – as rubbing out the competition is an age-old habit of alleged hoodlums. The Society Hookah Lounge and Bar is located in the Acton Square Shopping Center in Waldorf and in the Board of License Commissioners hearing on Dec. 12, 2019, was identified as the only Hookah Lounge in Charles County.
A public notice was advertised by the Charles County Board of License Commissioners when Aggarwal applied for a liquor license for the former Beer 4 U, a hell-hole Waldorf establishment that has been the scene of riots, fights, shootings and drug dealing for years.
Anoop Aggarwal applied for the Smoking Room, LLC, t/a Smoking Room 301, 2177 Crain Highway, Waldorf, Maryland, 20601, for a new Class B/T (Tavern) Beer, Wine & Liquor (on sale only) alcoholic beverage license with Entertainment.
On Feb. 19, 2020, Aggarwal’s attorney, David Martinez, of La Plata, filed an appeal with the Charles County Circuit Court over the decision of the Charles County Board of License Commissioners to deny an application for a license to sell booze at the Smoking Room LLC. Court records show that on March 6, 2020, the day Aggarwal was charged with attempting to hire a hitman, Martinez dropped the appeal – perhaps indicating the difficulty of presenting a good argument with his client in a jail cell to convince a Circuit Court Judge that his client is worthy of having a liquor license and therefore overturn the decision of the Board of License Commissioners.
Ironically, the very reason that Aggarwal was denied the liquor license was that the majority of the Board of License Commissioners deemed that the twenty-two-year-old was not fit to hold a license, partly due to his lying during the December hearing about being the manager of the Beer 4 U.
The Smoking Room 301 is located on the southbound side of Rt. 301 in downtown Waldorf, while a bustling cigar lounge and tavern is located on the northbound side of the busy highway just a few minutes away.
Reviews of Smoking Room 301 on Google indicate that the establishment opened without a liquor license. One review stated: “This is definitely a grown man’s hang out. Good selection of cigars and amazing ventilation. The service was great, only thing that was missing is warm food and alcohol which is a work in progress.”
During a long hearing held on Dec. 12, 2019, in La Plata, Martinez made the case for his client and the proposed manager of the new Hookah Lounge – The Smoking Room – calling upon Aggarwal to recite his history of employment at the 925 Liquors as preparing him for the role of the owner of a tavern and hookah lounge. Aggarwal’s manager of Smoking Room 301, Brian Ashton, was also introduced by attorney David Martinez to the board and when asked what his experience was in running a bar, Ashton said: “I’ve been drinking since I was twenty-one”.
In a plea deal with Charles County States Attorney Tony Covington, Brian Eric Ashton entered a guilty plea to DWI on Aug. 8, 2019, in Charles County Circuit Court following his arrest on April 6, 2019. THE DEAL: Ashton was given Probation Before Judgment with sixty days in jail and all of the jail sentence suspended.
During testimony by Charles County Sheriff Detective Charles Caldwell who assists with liquor license enforcement and a board inspector, the troubles of the prior establishment in that location “Beer 4 U” were brought up in regard to the participation of Aggarwal. The License Board attorney guided the Board away from including the actions and activities of the prior liquor license holder to only those incidents which concerned the present applicant – Aggarwal.
The board inspector Wayne Magoon and Charles County Sheriff Cpl. Caldwell testified that Aggarwal had represented himself as the manager and stated that he was weighing whether or not to purchase Beer 4 U by operating the establishment for three months.
HOOKAH HITMAN SAGA JUST
ANOTHER CHAPTER IN WALDORF CRIME
Feuds between Charles County bar owners, hiring a hitman and bars as the center of crime, murder, and corruption have a proud history in Waldorf – harkening back to the forties, fifties and early sixties when Rt. 301 was lined with casinos in the heyday of slot machines. Slot machines were legal in Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s, and Anne Arundel Counties with 5,279 machines in nearly 900 bars, restaurants and motels – and the lion’s share of them in the Rt. 301 establishments which led to the area being called “Little Las Vegas”.
In a 1995 article in The Washington Post, reporter Eugene L. Meyer included this about the old Waldorf: In 1955, Man’s Conquest magazine described Route 301 in Charles County as a 20-mile “wide open sin strip” and “felony row,” a breeding ground for all forms of immoral and illegal activity.
Bars with slot machines were licensed by Charles and St. Mary’s Counties which both reached to the Virginia shore with bars built out on piers and hosting slots with liquor licenses for the Maryland river bars. The photo below shows the Coles Point Tavern displaying the “Maryland Line” sign at the edge of the shore, welcoming Virginia customers. Maryland owns the Potomac River and to this day, Maryland Lottery operates in bars on piers over the Potomac which are reached by stepping out from the Virginia shore.
In the nineties, strip clubs had blossomed with one club – Scandals – operating in the former slot machine joint Spring Lake Motel. The owners of that club, John DiGiovanni and Marcello Buglisi hired a PG County Cop, Ray Alonzel Evans to be their muscle, working off-duty hours as a police officer in the role of the chief bouncer for the bar, and worked to help Evans get a contract to rub out a Montgomery County developer for his cousin. The motive for the murder was a property dispute between family members over a shopping center in Clinton and the Waldorf strip club was the meeting place for arranging the hit.
“Johnny D” DiGiovanni was a mafia wannabe and was convicted of the arson that destroyed his competitor – Playhouse – located on Rt. 5.
A police sting of the crimes, prostitution and other activities at the two strip clubs was highlighted by the revelations in ST. MARY’S TODAY that the police detectives had sex with the strip club dancers and even admitted doing so in charging documents filed with the District Court. The admissions of illegal sex on the part of police investigators were revealed in graphic detail in the court documents. The agency supplying the undercover investigator who probed the inner delights of a strip club dancer, as described in court documents, was a District of Columbia police officer.
One of the dancers at the Scandals revealed in an interview with ST. MARY’S TODAY that she was robbed of her tips at gunpoint by Buglisi in the Scandals and Buglisi was later charged with armed robbery as part of his buffet line of crime. Information developed by the Maryland State Police during this story led to a raid on the home of an associate of Sheriff Jim Gartland at a Christmas Party where five illegal slot machines were seized.
Buglisi, DiGiovanni, and Evans were all convicted of various high crimes and sent to prison along with the developer, Charles S. Shapiro who hired Evans to murder his cousin, Marvin Greenfield. Two attempts carried out in Montgomery County, along I-270, and at the intended victim’s Bethesda home, by Prince Georges County Police Corporal Evans were botched and Greenfield fled to an undisclosed location in Florida while police worked to put his would-be killers behind bars.
Following his release from the Maryland prison system, Marcello Buglisi was deported to Italy.
Buglisi’s son and namesake, Marcello Buglisi II has been amassing a criminal record to follow in his father’s footsteps. Indicted in Charles County, Md., the younger Buglisi entered into a plea agreement with the Charles County States Attorney on Jan. 5, 2006 to counterfeiting United States currency and was sentenced to 52 days in jail with four years of supervised probation.
In 2011, after violating the terms of his probation with a new arrest, Buglisi II was back to Circuit Court in Charles County for a hearing on Sept. 2, 2011, before Charles County Circuit Court Judge Chappelle. On Dec. 28, 2011, Buglisi II was charged with theft, forgery and issuing false documents. He later entered a guilty plea and was given an eighteen-month suspended sentence.