Heroin task force arrests 25 in raids over five-county area
CENTREVILLE — A combined law enforcement effort led to the arrests last week of 25 people in four counties in Maryland and one in Delaware, one of whom is believed to have been heavily involved in the largescale distribution of opioids in the region, according to Maryland State Police.
After consultation with the Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, 22 residential search warrants were executed Thursday morning, May 25, and 18 people were served with indictments during a coordinated takedown that encompassed suspects in Queen Anne’s, Kent, Caroline and Anne Arundel counties in Maryland and New Castle County in Delaware, according to Elena Russo, MSP public information officer.
On Friday, May 26, felony indictments were served on another seven suspects.
All 25 were arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and various other felony charges, police said. They were transported to the Queen Anne’s County Detention Center for an appearance before a court commissioner. More arrests are coming, Russo said.
“This case demonstrates the determination of law enforcement agencies and other partners working together to address the drug epidemic that affects our communities,” said Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann. “The success of this and future operations is a result of the collaborative efforts across many jurisdictions.”
The Maryland State Police Heroin Investigative Unit, assisted by multiple law enforcement partners, began the investigation in fall 2016.
Police developed information indicating Paul Stansbury Roberts Jr., 66, of Worton was involved in a large-scale drug trafficking organization in Queen Anne’s County, allegedly importing and distributing large amounts of opioids on a daily basis, including oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, methadone and heroin.
Police said Roberts also was selling large amounts of crack and powdered cocaine while dealing with several suppliers of cocaine.
One of the people allegedly supplying Roberts was identified as Roma Scott, 52, of Worton. A separate, parallel investigation began, and it is alleged Scott also was selling cocaine, crack cocaine and opioid pills on a daily basis for more than 12 years, Russo said in a statement.
Both Roberts and Scott claimed to be self-employed, one in the lawn care business and the other as an event planner, providing moon bounces and mechanical bulls for parties and fairs. They allegedly used these covers to hide the cash they were making in the illegal drug trade.
Over the past six weeks during the investigation, Roberts and Scott are suspected of collectively importing 4,000 oxycodone pills, 50 morphine pills, 50 fentanyl pills, and a collective mix of more than 1,000 suboxone, methadone and Percocet pills, along with 49 ounces of cocaine, which they allegedly sold for profit in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties. The estimated street value of these drugs is more than $130,000, police said.
Roberts and Scott allegedly were being supplied from multiple sources, police said.
Indictments also were served on their alleged sources, identified by police as Robert Henry Brown Jr., 43, of Annapolis; John Louis Lloyd III, 35, of Henderson; and an unnamed person from Middletown, Del.
The Maryland State Police Heroin Investigative Unit coordinates with local law enforcement in gathering intelligence to combat the illegal distribution of opioids and heroin. This six-week combined law enforcement effort involved police departments across Mar yland.
The 25 people indicted, listed alphabetically: Katherine Maryne Arrabel, 31, Chestertown; James Oliver Barrett Jr., 59, Chestertown; Jervis Wardell Blake, 52, Chestertown; Robert Henry Brown, 43, Annapolis; Aubrey Paul Cicci, 58, Worton; Alexandria Antonia Crawford, 22, Chestertown; Jeffery Brian Cwalina, 42, Stevensville; Anthony Allen Gibson, 46, Queenstown; Sara Jane Hoffman, 54, Church Hill; David O’Conner Johnson, 64; no fixed address; Alisha Kelly Kern, 28, Worton; Kirby Brier Kimble, 22, Centreville; John Louis Lloyd III, 35, Henderson; Gregory Delano Lomax, 42, Millington; Paul Stansbury Roberts Jr., 36, Worton; Kwazi Odean Robinson, 37, Preston; Jami Lynn Robinson, 36, Preston; Roma Scott, 52, Worton; Troy Leonis Sommerville, 28, Worton; Brittany Nicole Stokes, 22, Sudlersville; Chandler Willis Stubbs, 21, Betterton; Marie Elizabeth Todd, 29, Chestertown; Robert Wakefield Wright, 60, Worton; Autumn Brittany Wiltbank, 30, Church Hill; and Roshana Sharnett Wright, 38, Middletown, Del.
During the execution of the search warrants, police seized 90.3 grams of heroin, 446.3 grams of marijuana, 152 oxycodone pills, 245 other prescription pills, 15 fentanyl pills, 7.6 grams of crack cocaine, 1,201.5 grams of powdered cocaine, 15 vehicles, 14 guns and $98,152 in cash.
“This operation obviously has been a success, but it’s only the beginning. If you sell drugs in Queen Anne’s County, we will make every effort to lock you up,” Hofmann said.
“The war on drugs is never ending,” said Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Lance Richardson. “Recently, my office successfully prosecuted multiple drug dealers and obtained felony convictions on well over a dozen ‘for profit’ dealers, sending all of them to prison. Sadly, with the demand for drugs at a record level, there will always be individuals, motivated by greed, who are willing to step up and prey upon those afflicted by the disease of addiction, with no regard for the death and suffering they inflict.
“I can assure the citizens of Queen Anne’s County that my office is determined to prosecute these remorseless predators to the fullest extent of the law. These dealers will be held accountable for their actions with lengthy prison sentences upon conviction to protect our community from them.”
In addition to the MSP Heroin Investigative Unit, other police agencies involved in the case include the Queen Anne’s County Drug Task Force, the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, the Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Talbot County Drug Task Force, the Caroline County Narcotics Task Fore, the Kent County Narcotics Task Force, the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit, the Mar yland State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, the Chestertown Police Department, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, the Anne Arundel County Police Department, MSP Criminal Enforcement Division Central South, the MSP Gang Unit, Homeland Security, the Metro Area Drug Task Force, the Centreville Police Department, the Department of Natural Resources and Delaware State Police.
“The multi-jurisdictional focus of Maryland State Police criminal investigations is aimed at dismantling drug trafficking organizations responsible for criminal enterprises like this one,” Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. William Pallozzi said in a statement. “The exceptional results from investigations like these highlight the importance of continued collaboration as police focus on the distribution and use of opioids and heroin throughout Maryland.”
Dfc. Bill Schepleng and Sgt. Sean Hampton transport prisoners to the Queen Anne’s County Detention Center Thursday, May 25.