Harford County's Joint Law Enforcement Task Force Recognized for Outstanding Investigative Effort
Pictured displaying the award is (left to right) Col. Greg Carlevaro, Lt. Lee Dunbar, Sheriff Bane, Captain Duane Williams, and Major Doug Verzi
The Harford County Task Force was recently recognized by the Washington/ Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area for their collaborative efforts in dismantling the World's Most Dangerous (WMD), a Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) in Harford County with drug ties to wholesale suppliers in Atlanta, Georgia. The Award was presented to Sheriff L. Jesse Bane during HIDTA's Regional meeting on January 8, 2013.
HIDTA's Executive Director, Thomas H. Carr, explained, in late 2011, the Harford County Task Force, MD (HCTF) began investigating the street gang World's Most Dangerous, AKA: "WMD" who were selling crack/base cocaine in and around the Edgewood community of Harford County. In addition to ongoing street sales of crack cocaine, WMD was also responsible for several street robberies and a homicide of one of their own gang members in December 2011.
As a result of this homicide, the HCTF along with homicide detectives from the Harford County Sheriff's Office joined with the Maryland State Police, DEA, Harford County State's Attorney's Office, Bel Air Police Department, Aberdeen Police Department and the Havre de Grace Police Department, the FBI and the Federal Prosecutor's Office in February 2012 to successfully obtain a wiretap order for several members of WMD.
This wiretap investigation offered insight and information into cocaine suppliers who provided narcotics to the WMD. These dealers and traffickers were located in Baltimore City and their suppliers were found to be located in Atlanta, GA.
During the three-month extensive investigation and intensive surveillance, and in cooperation with Federal authorities, police identified the location and confirmation of target drug distribution locations which led to the execution of two (2) search and seizure warrants on wholesale supplier's residences. During this investigation, the US Marshal's Service and the Maryland State Police Fugitive Squad aided in the arrest of two (2) wanted individuals of the targeted DTOs who fled to Texas and California respectively. The investigation also provided the necessary intelligence to track and capture a suspect wanted by the Harford County Sheriff's Office who was wanted on multiple outstanding arrest warrants from prior Task Force investigations.
This initiative dismantled the WMD DTO, their supplier DTOs in Baltimore City and their wholesale suppliers in Atlanta, GA. This investigation resulted in eight (8) federal indictments for various drug trafficking charges on the DTOs highest ranking members, as well as thirteen (13) state indictments for various drug trafficking and sales charges on mid-level and street level (WMD) DTO members. A total of fifteen (15) search and seizure warrants were executed in Harford County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Atlanta, GA. A total of 4.5 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of raw heroin, and 2.4 lbs. of marijuana were seized. Additionally, one (1) handgun, two (2) vehicles and a total of $118,000 in US cash was seized as a result of this investigation.
Upon receiving the award, Sheriff Bane noted the hard work of the detectives and impact to the community, saying, "While this operation did not fully eradicate the flow of cocaine and crack cocaine into the Baltimore metro and Harford County area, it did deliver a severe blow and stemmed the flow of illicit drugs into these communities", he said. Bane said, "Detectives from multiple agencies worked together and around the clock for three months following leads that led to removing twenty-one (21) dangerous drug dealers and traffickers from the streets of Harford County, Baltimore County and Baltimore City". "These men and women do not do it for the benefit of receiving an award", he said, adding, "They do it to make our communities safe from thugs such as the WMD. I am proud of their accomplishments and of the outcome of this investigation", he concluded.
**The Harford County Task Force is a highly trained, self-governing, multi-jurisdictional entity with a mission to investigate offenses in the areas of mid to upper level drug trafficking, homeland security, and vice while supporting and facilitating cooperation and coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement. The HCTF was formed in 1988 in order better combat drug crimes by combining LE assets and resources, and in an effort to erase jurisdictional boundaries that drug dealers and organizations not have. Today the TF is comprised of all its original members plus the DEA and HIDTA**
For more information contact Lt. Lee Dunbar, Harford County Task Force at 410-836- 5468; or firstname.lastname@example.org