Friday, May 12, 2017
Big Drug Sting In Crisfield
As Reported By WBOC.com
CRISFIELD, Md.- A wall of faces and names lined the wall near Crisfield's mayor and police chief Thursday as they announced the results of a year-long undercover investigation. Chief Michael Tabor said 41 people have been arrested or summoned on suspicion of distributing heroin, fetanyl and other opioids in the small city, located in western Somerset County.
Mayor Kim Lawson said that's a staggering number given Crisfield's size.
"Those pictures on that wall in a community of 2,700 tell you how prevalent this problem is out there," Lawson said.
Tabor outlined how authorities were able to catch the suspects. He said an undercover officer was hired last year to infiltrate the local drug "industry." Tabor said the officer was able to "mesh into the environment" and placed in a local motel to pose as a drug buyer.
According to Tabor, the "deep cover officer" was able to buy heroin and opioids from various dealers throughout Crisfield. Tabor said many of the drug deals were recorded by video surveillance equipment.
Tabor said approximately three weeks ago more than 100 officers from Crisfield and allied agencies executed 18 search and seizure warrants at various locations. He said the warrants were served to help corroborate evidence. Guns and drugs were also seized.
But Tabor said what surprised him most in the investigation is what was learned about the drug dealers themselves. He said the vast majority turned out to be on some form of public assistance.
"In my 38 years of law enforcement, this is the first time I've ever come across that," said Tabor. "It's usually the addicts who are on welfare. They're the ones buying the drugs. This time we had 70 percent of our dealers were actually on welfare."
Tabor said several accused dealers are suspected of welfare fraud after allegedly accepting payments for the drugs via EBT cards, which would be compensated at the beginning for the month for drugs bought in the previous month.
Tabor said each of the accused dealers was reported to Social Services and their benefits were cut off as a result of the investigation.