Friday, July 24–OCPD Narcotics Probe Breaks Up Cocaine Operation

OCEAN CITY – A nearly two-year multi-agency investigation into the flow of cocaine from the southwest to Ocean City resulted in the conviction on drug trafficking charges in Texas of a Berlin man, who was sentenced to five years in jail earlier this month.

In early July, Erick Hinojosa Zavala, 29, was found guilty by a Jefferson County, Texas jury of drug trafficking and was sentenced to five years in jail. Zavala’s arrest and ultimate conviction came after a joint investigation carried out by the Ocean City Police Department’s narcotics unit, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) resulted in the seizure of half a kilogram of cocaine destined for Ocean City.

The investigation into Zavala’s activities began back in October 2007 when narcotics detectives began to develop information from several sources about shipments of cocaine being trafficked to Ocean City by unknown Hispanic males. Detectives were able to develop several suspects and began tracking their activities.

Undercover operations carried out by OCPD narcotics detectives soon led to Zavala and on at least one occasion, resort detectives were able to purchase cocaine from Zavala. In November 2008, OCPD detectives learned Zavala would be traveling to Jefferson County, Texas to make a large purchase of cocaine with a planned return to Worcester County where the bulk of the purchase would be sold.

OCPD detectives tracked Zavala leaving Maryland and traveling to Texas ostensibly to complete the deal. During the investigation, Zavala was apprehended in Texas and found to be in possession of over a half a kilogram of cocaine with a street value of around $63,000. Zavala was arrested on drug trafficking charges and was later convicted and sentenced to five years in jail.

This week, the OCPD acknowledged the combined efforts of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and the DEA for their assistance in apprehending the local cocaine trafficker.

“The seamless integration of personnel and resources from these agencies has kept these drugs off our streets,” said the OCPD in a formal statement.