A man dealing heroin in Frederick County as the ringleader of a distribution network across Maryland and New York was arrested as part of a five-month investigation led by the sheriff's office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, authorities said.
Information uncovered by deputies during a traffic stop in Frederick County led them to identify Jeffrey Marvin Anderson, 35, as the ringleader of the group and Frederick County dealer, according to Deputy First Class Amanda Hatcher, the agency's spokeswoman. The person in the traffic stop was arrested after deputies found heroin and marijuana, and decided to work with the sheriff's office.
The heroin sold by the group was further linked to at least one overdose death in Washington County, the news release states.
Heroin use has been called an epidemic as heroin overdose deaths in Frederick County reached an all-time high in 2013 at 21, the highest single-year total since 2007, according to a report released by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
“The sheriff's office is committed to stemming the flow of heroin into Frederick County to choke off the local supply,” Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said in a statement.
As the investigation expanded, the Department of Homeland Security got involved, serving 12 federal search warrants that led to the arrest of five Marylanders on May 15 and four New York residents later, the release stated.
Along with Anderson — who authorities say was in possession of more than a kilogram of heroin upon his arrest — Gary Larnell Barham Sr., 52, of Easton; Amanda Jo Palmer, 32, of Hagerstown; Shawn Christopher Malley, 25, of Crofton; and William Ulysses Robinson, 38, of Denton, were served with federal indictments on charges of conspiracy to possess and distribute heroin in Maryland, the release stated.
In New York, indictments were served on Rahdel Sharbaan, 41, Reginald Jones, 26, Francisco Abel Mercedes, 34, and Eric McLeod, 46, all of the Bronx, the release stated.
While five Marylanders and two New York residents were arrested in May, the other two New Yorkers were not arrested until recently, drawing out the investigation, Hatcher said.
"It isn't uncommon for somebody arrested for possession of a controlled dangerous substance to work with our drug task force because a lot of times, if they are cooperative and provide information, that can help their case," Hatcher said.
The sheriff's office coordinated with Maryland State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration and task forces from several counties nearby to conduct the investigation, according to Maj. Tim Clarke.
“We have to go where the drugs take us,” he said of pursuing cases beyond Frederick County.
Clarke said this is one of the biggest investigations jurisdictionally but mentioned the sheriff's office has worked on similarly high-profile cases, including collaborating with the FBI in the late 2000s to dismantle gangs in Maryland.
The sheriff's office will continue to be involved in the prosecution of those arrested, and follow any further leads, according to Clarke.
“We will move forward and continue to battle the drug issue,” he said.
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