Authorities arrest 20 people in Westminster drug operation

Residents' complaints lead to raids on 4 apartments

August 07, 1999|By John Murphy | John Murphy,SUN STAFF

Responding to complaints of a growing drug market in northeast Westminster, authorities arrested 20 people on drug possession and distribution charges early yesterday.

More than 90 law enforcement officials from the Westminster Police Department, Maryland State Police and the Carroll County Sheriff's Department swept through Sullivan and Wimert avenues, serving search and seizure warrants at four apartments that police believe were centers for drug use and sales.

Authorities said they seized small amounts of heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana, cash, weapons and a Lexus sedan. Police also served a search warrant at a home on Sturgis Court in Baltimore County, where police said some of the drugs originated.

State police undercover officers posed as drug dealers and went into the community looking for people attempting to buy crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

Sixteen adults and four juveniles had been arrested and taken into custody by the time the operation ended about 2 a.m. Several live outside the county.

Among the charges were: possession of marijuana, distribution of crack cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, conspiracy to distribute fake crack cocaine and attempted purchase of a noncontrolled dangerous substance.

The arrests concluded a four-month drug investigation of the neighborhood, during which Westminster police have arrested 40 people on drug charges.

The investigation stemmed from neighborhood residents called police asking for help, complaining that drug sales were taking place within view of children.

Police said children pointed out areas where dealers reportedly stashed drugs. Westminster police heard 10 to 15 complaints.

"Our message is simple," Westminster Capt. Dean Brewer said yesterday at a news conference. "Drugs will not be tolerated in the city of Westminster."

Pub Date: 8/07/99

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