FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — A suspected Frederick drug dealer and the businessman charged with murdering him were under police surveillance for weeks before the victim’s body was found in the trunk of his Lexus in December, court records show.

The Frederick News-Post reported Thursday on documents filed in Anne Arundel County District Court. They show that police obtained a wiretap Oct. 5 for the cell phone of John P. Ryan, 37, who was suspected of bringing large amounts of marijuana from California to Maryland.

Four days later, investigators followed Ryan and Crofton businessman Michael A. Stahlnecker, 50, to the northern California town of Grass Valley. They men stayed there four days, the records state.

In November, police documented two meetings between the men at a warehouse leased by Stahlnecker in Laurel, where he also has a business, Computer Power Cabling Corp.

On Nov. 28, two days after their second meeting, Ryan’s cell phone started sending incoming calls to voicemail and he missed a haircut appointment, the records state. Ryan’s wife Sarah reported him missing the next day.

Investigators spoke to Stahlnecker Dec. 1 after Ryan missed a flight to San Francisco. He told them he hadn’t seen Ryan for about a month, police say.

On Dec. 2, police searched Stahlnecker’s warehouse and found a spent, .38-caliber bullet casing and traces of Ryan’s blood.

Police found Ryan’s body Dec. 3 inside the trunk of his car, which was parked in a lot in Montgomery County. He had been shot twice in the head. The car trunk also contained about a pound of marijuana and $1,000, police say.

Police arrested Stahlnecker, 50, on Tuesday as he prepared to board an international flight in New York. He’s being held on a fugitive warrant in New York pending extradition to Maryland.

Attorney Christopher Aragona, who successfully defended Stahlnecker against insurance-fraud and theft charges in 1997, didn’t immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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