Wicomico Drug Unit Breaks Up Major Cocaine Operation

SALISBURY — The Wicomico County Narcotics Task Force last week announced the indictments of 71 suspects on various cocaine and other drug distribution charges, including six identified as kingpins, in what is being deemed one of the largest dealer round-ups in the county’s history.

Last week, the Wicomico County Narcotics Task Force, a high intensity drug trafficking area unit, announced the results of a multi-year investigation dating back to 2010 that targeted a large-scale drug trafficking organization operating in the county and across the lower shore. The first phase commenced in January 2010 and the last two phases, called “Operation Yellow Snow” and “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” respectively, were conducted in 2011 and 2012.

The phase called “Operation Yellow Snow” was coined because one of the main targets was identified as “Yellow” and snow is a common street slang term for cocaine. “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” was coined because large quantities of cocaine are often packaged in bricks and one of the main targets was identified a “Yellow.”

During the various phases of the investigation, law enforcement identified numerous distribution sources of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and pills in Wicomico County. Operations conducted by the task force resulted in the seizure of large quantities of cocaine, heroin, pills and marijuana with an estimated street value in excess of $1 million. The task force members also seized over $600,000 in cash along with numerous firearms, ammunition and bullet-proof body armor allegedly used during the distribution of illegal drugs throughout the area.

As a result of the investigation, state and federal drug charges were issued against 71 suspects. Most of the individuals indicted face a range of charges including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances and face a maximum incarceration period that ranges from five to 40 years.

However, six of the suspects indicted have been charged as drug kingpins including Austin Roberts III, 26, of Salisbury; Terron Crump, 34, of Salisbury; David Hotton, 34, of Selbyville; Anthony Hardy, 41, of Nanticoke; Maurice Hardy, 37, of Salisbury; and Ranson Chandler, Jr., 35, of Salisbury.

When law enforcement attempted to place Chandler into custody following his indictment, he utilized his vehicle to smash into a vehicle occupied by three officers and he has subsequently been charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder against law enforcement officers.

On Dec. 4, Austin Roberts III was taken into custody in San Diego for outstanding indictments resulting from the investigation. Roberts had been a fugitive from justice since June 2011 and he has been charged as a kingpin for allegedly distributing large amounts of narcotics in Wicomico and the surrounding region. A person charged as a kingpin is believed to occupy a position of organizer, supervisor, financier or manager in a large-scale drug distribution operation. The six kingpins indicted in the investigation face a mandatory minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 40 years.

In total, 71 suspects identified in the investigation have been indicted. Although most are Salisbury residents, the vast network includes suspects from across the Eastern Shore and into Lower Delaware and even the other side of the Chesapeake. Three suspects indicted are Worcester County residents, including Jerry Gully, 26, of Ocean City; Mark McCabe, 48, of Berlin; and Anthony Arsenault, Jr., 55, of Snow Hill.

On Dec. 12, law enforcement officials participated in a large-scale warrant service aimed at apprehending 39 individuals identified at the completion of the last phase of the investigation. A total of 15 of the 71 indicted suspects remained at large as of this week including one of the six identified kingpins, David Hotton, 34, of Selbyville.

The following is a list of those indicted who have already been taken into custody: Dashee Covington, 31, of Cambridge; Robert Elmore, 39, Princess Anne; Duane Horsey, 33, Salisbury; Phillip Bailey, 34, Salisbury; Charles Myers, 28, Salisbury; Holly Sterling, 36, Salisbury; Quincy Maness, 27, Salisbury; Lavaughn Price, 40, Salisbury; Leonard Hassell, 43, of Salisbury; Louis Smullen, 34, Salisbury; Shawanna Byrd, 35, Salisbury; Keith Parker, 25, Salisbury; Shawn Hugee, 37, of Delmar; Leonard Edward Drew, 45, Salisbury; Myron Waters, 42, Salisbury; Kevin Parker, 28, Salisbury; Kierre Collick, 24, Delmar; Anthony Arsenault, Jr., 55, Snow Hill; Mark McCabe, 48, of Berlin.

Others indicted include: Antwan Townsend, 24, Parsonsburg; Brittany Hansen, 28, Salisbury; Phillip Horner, 34, Salisbury; Janet McKee, 50, Salisbury; Mary Lou Siegler, 49, Salisbury; Roscoe Henry, Sr., 45, Salisbury; Kenneth Johnson, 35, Salisbury; Anthony Jones, 33, Salisbury; Jevon Mills, 36, Salisbury; Brian Mason, 40, Salisbury; Terron Crump, 34, Salisbury; Kevin Land, 36, Salisbury; Jeffery Simpson, 49, Salisbury; Deandre Wright, 29, Hebron; Tyrone Sheppard, 42, Salisbury; Tyrae Cuffee, 34, Delmar; Kevin Vickers, 24, Chestertown; Tristan Dozier, 34, Salisbury; Tyshon Hobson, Sr., 25, Salisbury; Annette Loper, 50, Salisbury; Tymar Purnell, 31, Salisbury; Ronnie Bivens, 40, Salisbury; Maurice Hardy, 37, Salisbury; Leon Grant, 26, Salisbury; Arnold Williams, 34, Salisbury; Andrew Jackson, 39, Baltimore; Allan Purnell, 32, Salisbury; Tereek Nutter, 29, Salisbury; Eric Holbrook, 31, Salisbury; Jamy Toadvine, 36, Salisbury; Irving Polk, Jr., 34, Salisbury; Delante Jones, 22, Salisbury; Donald Webb, 58, Salisbury; Michael White, 52, Crisfield; and Richard Williams, 42, Georgetown, Del.

Still wanted in connection with the investigation are Shawn Brown, 38, Salisbury; Brian Arnold, 24, Chestertown; Benjamin Fontaine, 35, Salisbury; Michael Matusky, 35, Willards; Floyd Sykes, 33, Salisbury; Rashaan Evans, 29, Salisbury; Dwayne Taylor, 43, Salisbury; Antonio Bradley, 30, Salisbury; David Hotton, 34, Selbyville; Develle Morgan, 35, Salisbury; Jason Elliott, 34, Mardela Springs; Devale Palmer, 37, Salisbury; Jeffrey Wilhide, 54, Salisbury; Jerry Lee Gully, 26, Ocean City; and Anthony Hardy, 41, Nanticoke.

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