Team­work, com­mu­nity cred­ited for ar­rests

Record Observer - - Front Page - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — The heads of law en­force­ment of­fices in Queen Anne’s County and the sur­round­ing area gath­ered at the Mary­land State Po­lice Cen­tre­ville bar­racks on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, May 31, to talk about last week’s drug raids and show the items seized.

Of­fi­cers ar­rested 25 in­di­vid­u­als al­legedly in­volved in var­i­ous as­pects of the drug traf­fick­ing in­dus­try on the East­ern Shore af­ter a com­bined law en­force­ment ef­fort that be­gan in fall 2016. The in­dict­ments spanned Queen Anne’s, Kent, Caro­line and Anne Arun­del coun­ties in Mary­land and New Cas­tle County in Delaware.

Sprawled across the con­fer­ence ta­ble in the MSP bar­racks were shot­guns, an as­sault ri­fle, mul­ti­ple pis­tols, more than $100,000 cash, a

bul­let­proof vest and mul­ti­ple kinds of nar­cotics.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­sulted in the seizure of 90.3 grams of heroin, 446.3 grams of mar­i­juana, 239 oxy­codone pills, 711 other pre­scrip­tion pills, 15 fen­tanyl pills, 27.9 grams of crack co­caine, 1,209.9 grams of pow­dered co­caine, 20 ve­hi­cles and 14 firearms, po­lice said.

“This case demon­strates the abil­ity of the com­mu­nity send­ing in­for­ma­tion to law en­force­ment and the tips that are re­ceived, as well as the great co­op­er­a­tion with all the law en­force­ment agen­cies that are rep­re­sented here,” Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann said. “This def­i­nitely took a dent out of the mar­ket in Queen Anne’s County and sur­round­ing ju­ris­dic­tions, and a lot of lives were saved be­cause of this op­er­a­tion.”

Queen Anne’s County State’s At­tor­ney Lance Richard­son said, though the war on drugs never ends and ar­rests in the fu­ture are likely, his of­fice will fol­low through with “zeal­ous and vig­or­ous pros­e­cu­tion.”

Ch­ester­town Po­lice Chief Adrian Baker spoke about how opi­oids and drugs can “dev­as­tate the com­mu­nity” and how op­er­a­tions such as last week’s are crit­i­cal to keep­ing the com­mu­nity safe.

“We’ll con­tinue to fight, but for now we put a dent in it,” Baker said.

Hof­mann said an in­ves­ti­ga­tion like this many times be­gins with law en­force­ment of­fi­cers mak­ing ar­rests for pos­ses­sion charges, which then can lead to fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the drug dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem. He said the re­la­tion­ship his de­part­ment has with the com­mu­nity and sur­round­ing re­gion aids in gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion and tips from the pub­lic.

Rec­og­niz­ing that the de­mand for opi­oids will still be there, Hof­mann said it is im­por­tant for law en­force­ment to con­tinue its ef­forts in drug re­duc­tion “but also look at the per­sons who are ad­dicted, mak­ing sure they do get the treat­ment that they need so they don’t have to rely on th­ese il­le­gal sub­stances.”

Richard­son said many of the 25 ar­rested are “ha­bit­ual of­fend­ers” who have had mul­ti­ple con­tacts with the ju­di­cial sys­tem. Ref­er­enc­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that took place last year that in­volved more than a dozen ar­rests and prose­cu­tions for drug deal­ers, Richard­son said a new group of deal­ers have emerged.

“So, this is never end­ing but (we) ab­so­lutely want to get this scourge off our streets,” he said.

Richard­son said the opi­oid and drug epi­demic does not just stop with the deal­ers and the users as many bur­glar­ies and rob­beries stem from drug users need­ing money to feed their ad­dic­tion. He said peo­ple who can­not af­ford their drug habits com­mit other “nui­sance crimes,” like thefts in com­mu­ni­ties and car break ins.

Richard­son warned that once this in­ves­ti­ga­tion is com­pleted, the al­lied agen­cies will move on to the next is­sue to rid the com­mu­nity best they can of drug and opi­oid use and abuse.

“Th­ese in­ves­ti­ga­tors do not rest,” he said. “They do a fan­tas­tic job in gain­ing in­tel, fig­ur­ing out who’s mov­ing what in this com­mu­nity and we’re go­ing to do our best to shut it down here in Queen Anne’s County.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Mary­land State Po­lice, Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, Cen­tre­ville Po­lice De­part­ment, Mary­land Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice, Mary­land Heroin In­ves­tiga­tive Unit and the Ch­ester­town Po­lice De­part­ment at­tended the press con­fer­ence.

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twit­ter: @mike_k­ibay­times.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

Queen Anne’s County State’s At­tor­ney Lance Richard­son said his of­fice will vig­or­ously pros­e­cute the in­di­vid­u­als in­volved in last weeks drug re­lated ar­rests. Richard­son spoke at a press con­fer­ence at the Mary­land State Po­lice Cen­tre­ville bar­racks on Wed­nes­day, May 31.

PHOTOS BY MIKE DAVIS

Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann de­scribes some of the items seized dur­ing last weeks ar­rests at a press con­fer­ence at the Mary­land State Po­lice Cen­tre­ville bar­racks on Wed­nes­day, May 31.

Guns, drugs and cash were seized dur­ing a five-county raid last week that re­sulted in the ar­rest of 25 in­di­vid­u­als. The seized items were on dis­play at the Mary­land State Po­lice Cen­tre­ville bar­racks on Wed­nes­day, May 31.

Guns, drugs and cash were seized dur­ing a five-county raid last week that re­sulted in the ar­rest of 25 in­di­vid­u­als. The seized items were on dis­play at the Mary­land State Po­lice Cen­tre­ville bar­racks on Wed­nes­day, May 31.

Cen­tre­ville Po­lice Chief Char­lie Rhodes thanked all the al­lied agen­cies for the work they did in ar­rest­ing 25 in­di­vid­u­als last week re­lated to the drug epi­demic in Mary­land dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day, May 31, at the Mary­land State Po­lice Cen­tre­ville bar­racks.

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