Two drug enforcement operations held over the weekend led deputies to charge 12 people with drug-related offenses, including carrying heroin and marijuana into Frederick County, the sheriff’s office announced Wednesday.
Five deputies and a K-9 unit from the Thurmont Police Department patrolled northern Frederick County along Md. 140 late Saturday and early Sunday, stopping vehicles for traffic violations and equipment issues, such as a broken headlight, according to Cpl. Jeff Eyler of the sheriff’s office.
At the same time, five other deputies and a sheriff’s office K-9 unit scanned I-70 and Md. 144 in eastern Frederick County as the second operation. Both operations aimed to stop drugs from entering the county.
Some traffic stops led to drug-related charges and arrests in the two operations, which were planned along routes where law enforcement noticed a larger amount of drug activity, Eyler said.
Of the 12 people charged, nine had addresses listed outside Frederick County, including several from Prince George’s County and Washington County and one from Virginia, according to a news release.
“We know that it’s not only Frederick County [residents]; it’s people from other jurisdictions coming through Frederick County,” Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said. “That says that the flow of drugs is not only into Frederick County, but through Frederick County.”
The sheriff’s office has been conducting similar drug enforcement operations at least once a month over the past year and a half in an effort to battle the heroin and drug epidemic, Jenkins said.
Jenkins noted the sheriff’s office is seeing a trend of people driving to Baltimore, where heroin is cheaper and more widely available, to purchase the drug.
Four of the 12 people charged during the drug enforcement operation were traveling in the same car, which deputies pulled over at about 1:20 a.m. Sunday. The car hastily exited I-70 after passing a roadside sign warning drivers of drug enforcement and for erratic driving, according to documents filed in Frederick County District Court.
A search of the car revealed a bag of crack cocaine and two handguns belonging to the car’s front-seat passenger, Thomas Michael Parkman, 41, of Hagerstown, the documents state.
Parkman was charged with possession of crack cocaine, possession of drugs in a place of confinement and five counts related to the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, including possession of a handgun with the serial number removed, according to online court records.
Deputies also found two capsules of heroin, a crack rock the size of a quarter, about 30 other capsules, over 10 grams of marijuana, a digital scale, other drug paraphernalia and $386 in cash on another passenger, Douglas Lorell Cooper, 37, of Laurel.
Cooper was charged with two counts each of drug possession and possession of drugs with the intent to distribute, and a single count each of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana greater than 10 grams, court records state.
After a police dog alerted to the presence of drugs in the car, deputies found two purses belonging to the two female passengers, Tabbetha Rio Butrim, 24, of Laurel, and Denise Marie Butrim, 48, Jessup. Both purses contained drug paraphernalia, including spoons with heroin residue and hypodermic needles, and an Oxycodone pill was recovered from Denise Butrim’s purse, the documents state.
Denise and Tabbetha Butrim were both charged with two counts each of possession of drug paraphernalia, and Denise Butrim was charged with an additional count of drug possession for the pill found in her purse, court records state.
While not every person charged over the weekend had similar amounts of drug possession, this sends the message that the sheriff’s office has “zero tolerance” for drugs, Jenkins said.
“What it does is send a message that we will do everything we can to stop the flow of illegal drugs into Frederick County,” Jenkins said.
In addition to the sheriff’s interdiction efforts, Jenkins plans to continue promoting awareness of the issue through regular community meetings.
While enforcement is important to combating the heroin and drug epidemic, Eyler stressed the role of prevention and education in resolving it.
“The enforcement side of it is a small part,” Eyler said. “We’re not going to arrest our way out of the problem.”
According to the release, other people were charged in the enforcement operation:
n Theodora Craig Tucker II, 27, of Hagerstown, received a civil citation for possession of marijuana less than 10 grams.
n Daniel Springer, 29, of Emmitsburg, was charged with possession of heroin and warrant for failure to appear in court.
n Adrian Kelly Holmes, 21, of Winchester, Virginia, was charged with possession of heroin and possession of heroin paraphernalia, and received a civil citation for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana.
n Mark Alexander Davis, 18, of Columbia, was charged with possession of marijuana paraphernalia and was issued a civil citation for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana.
n Zachary Mark Mayer, 19, of Elkridge, was charged with charged with possession of marijuana paraphernalia and was issued a civil citation for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana.
n Blaec Von Blickenstaff-Ramos, 27, of Frederick, was charged with possession of heroin and possession of administrative equipment.
n Kiana Sue Blickenstaff-Ramos, 18, of Frederick, was charged with possession of heroin and possession of administrative equipment.
n A 15-year-old boy from Elkridge was referred to the Department of Juvenile Services for possession of marijuana paraphernalia.