OCEAN CITY — Ocean City Police have arrested 19 suspected drug dealers operating in the resort area after a months-long investigation resulted in indictments handed down by a Worcester County grand jury.
Last December, Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) narcotics detectives began an extensive investigation into the illegal distribution of drugs, focusing primarily on the south end of the resort. Narcotics detectives worked in conjunction with OCPD patrol officers, who had been aggressively enforcing illegal drug activity in the downtown area for several months.
Based on initial information obtained from patrol officers, undercover narcotics detectives made numerous contacts with local residents, which led them to persons believed to be involved in the sale of illegal drugs in the area. Narcotics detectives were then able to make several undercover purchases from various known dealers.
Over the course of about eight months, OCPD undercover detectives made nearly 40 hand-to-hand drug deals in Ocean City and the surrounding area as they began to build their case. A total of 20 different suspects were identified during the aggressive undercover operation. The drugs purchased during the investigation ranged from crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, PCP, marijuana, ecstasy, oxycodone, buprenorphine, suboxone patches and clonzapen.
As a result of the investigation, on Aug. 23, OCPD detectives were able to obtain grand jury indictments on the 20 suspected dealers including a total of 62 criminal charges. The charges included CDS distribution, conspiracy to distribute CDS, possession of CDS, and distribution of CDS in a drug-free school zone.
Armed with the grand jury indictments, OCPD narcotics detectives and general assignment detectives, along with members of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Enforcement Team, began rounding up the 20 suspected drug dealers. As of this week, 19 of the suspects had been arrested and the OCPD expected to have the remaining suspect in custody at any time. In advance of the arrests, the Worcester County Circuit Court preset bonds in the various arrests from $25,000 to $250,000.
The arrests in Ocean City continue an aggressive enforcement initiative against drug dealing in Worcester that began in earnest this summer. In July, a total of 40 Worcester County residents, known to be operating in the south end towns of Snow Hill and Pocomoke, were arrested in a two-day sweep carried out by multiple law enforcement agencies.