A roundup for drug offenses has culminated in the arrests of dozens of suspects by the Wicomico County Narcotics Task Force. The investigation into the drug trafficking ring began in January 2010. Law enforcement officials found several distribution sources of various drugs throughout the county. During the three-year period, they confiscated heroin, cocaine, marijuana and pills valued at more than $1 million in addition to weapons and more than $600,000 in cash.
The suspects face a variety of state and federal drug-related charges with penalties between five- and 40-year prison sentences. Six of the 71 suspects have been labeled as drug kingpins and face mandatory minimum prison sentences of 20 years. The kingpins are individuals who oversee the drug distribution in some capacity. When police attempted to take one of the kingpins into custody, he rammed his vehicle into an occupied law-enforcement vehicle. He faces attempted first-degree murder charges in addition to the drug charges.
The suspects live in several cities throughout the region. Fifteen individuals, including one kingpin, are still wanted in connection with the investigation.
The courts levy heavy penalties against drug offenders, especially against drug kingpins. The mandatory penalties are sometimes non-negotiable and can include expensive fines and long prison sentences. However, the courts will sometimes consider the offender’s level of involvement at sentencing. In some cases, the prosecution will negotiate with a criminal defense attorney who can discuss a possible reduction of charges in certain situations, which could lead to a reduction in penalties.
Source: The Dispatch, “Wicomico Drug Unit Breaks Up Major Cocaine Operation,” Shawn J. Soper, Dec. 28, 2012