Maryland State Police arrest pair of drug kingpins

 

Maryland Drug Bust Suspect

 

Welcome to Hampstead with its cornfields, two-lane roads and streets lined with American flags.  It's a town of roughly 6,300 people that can't hide from the nation's heroin epidemic.  "You here stuff around here, Westminster... you know a lot of different people that you wouldn't think how big of an involvement it is,” said Dawn Caltrider.  “It's getting pretty big around here."  But it's a little less big after an otherwise routine traffic stop on Interstate 95 landed a pair of drug kingpins behind bars after troopers discovered two kilos of cocaine in the trunk of their vehicle.  At that point in the investigation, heroin in Hampstead or elsewhere was nowhere on their radar.  "I was a Baltimore City police officer,” said Fred Geerken.  “We had some of the same problems.   How many police can you devote to that versus the other things that are going on, but I think maybe a task force---a special group."  Enter the Carroll County Drug Task Force, which had already identified 32-year old Shani McDonald of Windsor Mill as a major heroin dealer in Hampstead, Manchester, Finksburg and Westminster.  49-year old Vernon Kidd, Jr. of Finksburg was the driver.  "These two individuals were also suspects in what has been a six-month long investigation including law enforcement, not just in other states, but several departments here in Maryland and what they have found is that these two suspects were involved in the large-scale distribution of illegal drugs to include a lot of heroin, cocaine and other substances," said Elena Russo of the Maryland State Police.  Police raided two houses tied to McDonald along with a pair of additional stash houses and turned up $140,000 worth of heroin, a pair of handguns and ten grand in cash, while shutting down a major distributor in Carroll County.  "This operation has impacted the number of overdoses that we've seen particularly in Carroll County,” said Russo.  “In 2015, there were 43 overdoses.  In 2016, we are up to 113.  That's a 162% increase, and again, our investigators believe that these two are directly impacting those numbers."  At the time of their arrest, police believe the two men had just picked up the cocaine from New York and were bringing it back to distribute in Carroll County.  A trooper initiated that stop when he noticed someone in the car wasn't wearing their seatbelt.

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