OCEAN CITY — A local man, arrested last August on drug distribution charges after making several narcotics deals with Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) detectives at different locations around West Ocean City, pleaded guilty last week to distribution of cocaine and was sentenced to 14 years in jail as part of the repeat offender program.
Early in 2011, OCPD narcotics officers were sworn in as fully vested law enforcement officials giving them full police powers outside town limits.
Last August, OCPD undercover narcotics officers began an investigation into the alleged drug distribution activities of Edward Lee Byrd, 31, of Pocomoke.
For example, on Aug. 19, 2011, an undercover OCPD officer made arrangements to purchase crack cocaine from Byrd at the Royal Farms store on Route 50, a transaction later completed in the store’s restroom. On August 30, a similar deal with Byrd was arranged and completed at the Royal Farms store in West Ocean City following the same basic procedure.
On Sept. 16, 2011, another transaction was arranged, again at the Royal Farms, but this time, Byrd changed the location to the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on the opposite side of Route 50. Around 2:40 p.m., while the officer waited inside the restaurant, Byrd arrived in a nearby parking lot as the sole occupant of the vehicle. The crack cocaine purchase was then completed inside the restaurant’s restroom.
On Oct. 12, 2011, a similar transaction was arranged and completed, again in the restroom of the Kentucky Fried Chicken. Immediately after the last transaction, three other OCPD officers entered the restroom and took Byrd into custody without incident. He was charged with four counts of possession and distribution of crack cocaine.
After Byrd was arrested, an OCPD officer observed a vehicle in which Byrd had traveled before in the parking lot of the Wendy’s nearby. A suspect, later identified as Shannon William Marshall, 35, of Salisbury, was waiting in the vehicle. OCPD officers, one of whom recognized Marshall from prior interactions, detained Marshall based on the evidence.
In the center console, in plain view, was a baggie of marijuana and a “blunt.” Also observed in plain view was a baggie of powder cocaine on the front passenger seat. Marshall was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and cocaine.
Last week in Circuit Court, Byrd pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of cocaine and was sentenced to 14 years in jail as a repeat offender. In 2004, Byrd was sentenced to four years for a similar charge in Worcester County.