Maryland State Police arrest pair of drug kingpins
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.
Troops and Troopers enjoy fishing trip together in Clayton
It's a busy late summer day on the Saint Lawrence River, and it's all to thank veterans and Fort Drum soldiers. Bob Cooke, North Country Troopers Assisting Troops said, "New Jersey State Police has an event like this. Some of our guys went there and said we would like to put something like that on here in a local sense with Fort Drum." North Country Troopers Assisting Troops hosted its fourth annual fishing event in Clayton Sunday to thank more than 80 active military members and veterans. The troops went out in boats with law enforcement and other sponsors to enjoy a day catching fish like walleye or pike. There were also 28 professional fishing guides from Cape Vincent, Alexandria Bay and Clayton, helping troops and troopers catch as much as they can. "We did better than last year," veteran Ryan Rhoades said. "I think all of us pretty much caught two or three fish a piece, so it's a pretty good turnout today." 10th Mountain Division soldier Isaac Rightnowar said, "We started out with a three and a half pounds mallmouth and we got that one in. These guys really took place in helping out and making sure that fish was in the live well." The fishing trip ended with a boat procession, led by the Coast Guard and a Clayton fireboat. Once they arrived back, they were greeted by civilians and state police officers, thanking them for their service. The troops said it means a lot. "The community coming out to thank us, we appreciate them," SFC Oswaldo Maldonado, 10th Mountain Division said. "We appreciate the New York state troopers. " Showing support with a calm summer day on the seaway.
In Memory of Trooper Kenneth Velez
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Trooper Kenneth Velez was struck and killed by a vehicle while conducting a traffic stop on I-90, near the Warren Road exit, in Cuyahoga County. Trooper Velez had served with the Ohio State Highway Patrol for 27 years. He is survived by his wife and three children. End of watch: September 15, 2016
Nine new four-legged troopers graduate
Nine new four-legged troopers with a nose for explosives have been welcomed to the Washington State Patrol. According to the State Patrol’s blog, Moss, Ralph, Maxo, Buster, Evie, Frankie, Mitchell, Vilma and Rex graduated from the 20th Explosive Detection Canine Handler Course on Sept. 2. Chief John Batiste himself presented them with their official Washington State Patrol K9 badges. Also honored were Master Trainer Steve Gardner and Trooper Matt Chatterton, who is Evie’s handler, who were presented with 20-year service pins. Kate Park was given a certificate of appreciation for her dedication to the Homeland Security Division.