Police Target Open-Air Drug Markets

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Police Target Open-Air Drug Markets

Leonardtown - 6/22/2007

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By Sean Rice

On May 31, a white “dually” truck towing a racing trailer pulled into the Leonard Freehold townhouse community in Leonardtown.

The driver, an undercover Charles County Sheriff's Officer, donned a backwards baseball cap, stopped the vehicle and waited a few seconds for ambitious narcotics dealers to approach the vehicle and offer their products.

Seconds later, the trailer burst open and 16 SWAT team members jump out and surrounded the crowd of pushers.

“Usually when the police show up at these places they scatter,” St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron told The Bay Net. “Here they really had no time to run.”

Officers executed nine search warrants at the complex that resulted in two immediate arrests. Cameron said more arrests are on the way.

Cameron said the raid was the result of citizen complaints and was a major goal of his administration.

“That’s what we’ve been trying to do, respond to these citizen complaints about open-air drug markets,” Cameron said. “We’re trying to be responsive as possible to citizen complaints.”

The May 31 raid was a joint effort, involving the tactical response (aka SWAT) teams from Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties, as well as Maryland State Police.

Cameron said officers seized nearly $800 worth of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and cash at Leonard Freehold. They also arrested Jerome Herbert, 20, of Mechanicsville, and Thomas Bush, 62, of Leonardtown.

Cameron said detectives continue to gather information on the underground drug market and more such raids are on the horizon.

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