Drug sweep promises cleaner streets in Cambridge, Dorchester

Task force arrests 18 drug dealers in county, holds warrants for 10 more

CAMBRIDGE — Through the past five months, the Cambridge Police Department, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Department, and Dorchester County Narcotics Task Force, undertook an undercover operation.

Monday, police said they were very proud to report that a 5-month-long investigation uncovered 32 different individuals who sold illegal drugs to an undercover officer, in some cases there were multiple alleged sales. Twenty-eight of those individuals have been positively identified and warrants were issued for their arrest. Recently, officers from the agencies involved hit the streets together within the City of Cambridge and throughout Dorchester County at which time 18 of the individuals were located and served warrants, with the individuals being charged with distribution and many other related offenses.

The Dorchester County Narcotics Task Force includes officers from Cambridge, Dorchester County, Hurlock Police Department and the Maryland State Police. Also assisting was Agent Frank Oliver of the ATF.

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Lt. Todd of the Cambridge Police Dept leads a press conference concerning a sweep of alleged drug dealers in Dorchester County. From left, Frank Oliver of ATF, Hurlock Police Chief Les Hutton, Lt. Todd, Sheriff James Phillips, State Attorney Bill Jones, and Cambridge Police Chief Mark Lewis.

“This just goes to show what we can accomplish when we have a joint operation and everybody comes to the table, and does their part of the job,” said Sheriff James Phillips of the Dorchester County Sheriffs Department. “This is what we can accomplish to make the entire community safer.”

The efforts were mainly concentrated within the City of Cambridge with some work throughout Dorchester County. The main focus was to attack the drug problem by eliminating drug dealers that are out on the streets, in communities committing crimes and destroying lives by selling different types of illegal narcotics, which have cost some people their lives.

According to a news release from city police, the war on drugs has been an ongoing problem throughout the country at every level. The heroin epidemic has had its own impact on the local community and affected many families right here in Dorchester County that have suffered the loss of loved ones.

The investigation began as a response to complaints from local citizens.

“We receive complaints from neighbors, from neighborhoods involving subjects allegedly participating in illegal activities,” said Chief Mark K. Lewis of the Cambridge Police Department. “Once we start getting those kinds of calls we try to put together an enforcement effort, to combat the complaints. We were lucky enough to have an undercover officer come in, who was able to go out and infiltrate these different areas successfully,” bringing in suspects likely for further investigation. This particular officer spent five months in an undercover role, according to the chief.

Five of the individuals were alleged to be involved in the illegal distribution of heroin. Of those five cases, lab reports found the deadly drug Fentanyl was mixed with the heroin.

When asked about where the illegal drugs come from, Chief Lewis said, “That is an area we continue to look at. We know (the drugs) are coming from Delaware, from Wilmington, from the Baltimore area. From many different locations.”

When asked if the arrests resulted in the apprehension of any kingpin-style drug dealers, police answered no. “These dealers were street-level to mid-level dealers,” said Chief Lewis. “These are the people who are causing the problems in our community.” The chief declined to put a street value on the amount of drugs confiscated in the arrests.

State’s Attorney Bill Jones pointed out that “when you hear about low to mid-level dealers … remember that the low level dealers are the ones who are out there dealing drugs when our children go out to play, ride their bikes, or walk to school. It’s not just a criminal justice issue, or a public safety issue, it’s also a public health issue, that’s why we just can’t target the higher-level dealers.”

Arresting the street-level dealers, according to the members of the task force, is a critical issue for keeping our neighborhoods safer.

“I think you’ll see as well that the citizens of Cambridge,” said Attorney Jones, “will have a much quieter summer as a result of this operation.”

Those charged in the operation include: Antwon Demetrice Williams, 26, of Port Street, Easton; Wayne Carlton Jeandell, 32, unknown address; Dalvin Daquan Carter, 20, of Pine Street, Cambridge; Tamara Ethel Lee Barksdale, 36, of Greenwood Avenue, Cambridge; Dorrell Allen Freeman, 35, of Choptank Avenue, Cambridge; Troy Anthony Hopkins, 47, of Choptank Avenue, Cambridge; Kevin Tracey Stanley, 50, of Ocean Gateway, Vienna; Deante Edward Garnett, 19, of Moores Avenue, Cambridge; Jermell Lamar Savage, 24, of Frenttral Avenue, Salisbury; Larry Darnell Johnson, 51, of Beulah Road, Hurlock; James Carter Jr., 58, of Skeet Club Road, Hurlock; Gary Gregory Greene, 70, unknown address; Anthony Lee Watkins, 26, of Charles Street, Cambridge; Robert Bruce Johnson, 31, of Robbins Street, Cambridge; James Henry Sharp, 66, of Robbins Street, Cambridge; James Cecil McCoy, 38, unknown address; Robert Johnson Jr., 42, of Skinners Court, Cambridge; and David Christopher Brown Jr., unknown address.

Mr. Brown faces the most charges with nine counts of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, nine counts of possession with intent to distribute and nine counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance. Mr. Brown, Robert Bruce Johnson, and Mr. Stanley are being held without bond.

According to Cambridge Police, there will be more arrests in the coming days and weeks ahead as a result of this investigation. Police intend to keep the public and media updated as more information becomes available. Even though Cambridge Police consider the operation to have been a huge success, the war on drugs and the everyday addictions that individuals fight, along with the impact it has on families, continues.

Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at pclipper@newszap.com.

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