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Record Breaking: 71 Arrested

The list is posted at WBOC’s website. It’s too long to fit on a single screen. Indictments were handed down for 71 charged with drug dealing, including some “kingpin” charges.

Sheriff Mike Lewis, from Wicomico, put it this way in a news conference: “You can see the level of sophistication that goes into the installation, manufacture and deployment of these types of compartments in the drug trade," Lewis said. "We have not indicted 71 nickel-and-dime drug dealers. We have indicted major drug traffickers."

The reported seizures were: heroin, cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs, more than a million dollars worth in total; more than half a million in cash and goods; “numerous” firearms and even some body armor. Not all of those charged were arrested in the initial sweep, fifteen people remained at large.

Six of the accused are charged with being Kingpins.

Maryland law defines a Drug kingpin as someone who organizes, supervises or finances an organization that makes, smuggles or sells drugs in the state. Any of the listed activities is enough to get the charge, so, for example, someone who organizes a smuggling operation to move drugs through our state for sale elsewhere would still fall under the definition. In the cases above, the kingpin statue would lead to at least 20 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Serious stuff.

It’s stunning to see 71 people arrested in one go. That’s more than the staff at an average hotel. If you went in the locker room of the Baltimore Ravens and arrested everyone on the team roster, you’d still be more than a dozen short.

The question now will be whether or not it has an effect on street level sales. Just as in other markets, a shortage in one area attracts sellers from areas with overages. Unfortunately, there are plenty of large cities out of state that are a short drive away. Still, a break in the addict’s supply chain gives them an opportunity to reevaluate their situation. Let’s hope that with the dealers temporarily out of the picture, some at the bottom of the food chain take a chance on getting treatment.

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