A 10-month investigation involving undercover work and wiretaps resulted in the dismantling of the local branch of the World’s Most Dangerous gang, members of the Harford County Task Force announced Thursday, with a round of recent search and seizure warrants netting members of the gang responsible for local acts of violence and drug sales.
Netted in the raids, which took place in Harford County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, and Atlanta were drugs with a street value of $680,000 including 4.5 kilograms of powder cocaine, 2 kilograms of raw heroin and 2.4 pounds of marijuana as well as one handgun, two vehicles, and $100,000 cash.
A total of 21 individuals, described by the task force as “dangerous drug dealers, traffickers, gang members and gang associates” were arrested during the course of the investigation. Eight face federal drug trafficking charges, while 13 were indicted by the state.
Among them was Isiah Sibert, 20, who had been listed by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office as one of its “most wanted” individuals. Arrested in California was Waymond Harrison, 30, who had been sought on cocaine distribution charges from a previous wiretap investigation.
“The message we want to send to those gang members who deal in violence and drugs and to those thugs who bring drugs into our county to poison and kill our children, is we are looking for you and sooner or later we will find you,” Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane said at a press conference to announce the arrests.
“You are not welcome in Harford County, and we will commit whatever resources are necessary to keep our citizens and community safe and drug-free,” he said.
The task force began investigating the WMD gang in December, after uniformed patrol officers, special squad members, and undercover officers began reporting a spike in activity by the group, according to Harford County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Lee Dunbar, a watch officer with the task force. Though Dunbar said the Sheriff’s Office was aware of the gang and had arrested members in the past, the increase in activity included rises in both drug dealing and violent crimes, culminating in a homicide of a gang member. Dunbar declined to specify the exact homicide case connected to the gang.
Subsequent investigation, including undercover work by members of the task force, resulted in a wiretap order in February for phone lines of suspected cocaine dealers and suppliers stretching from Atlanta to Baltimore City and into Harford County, Dunbar said. Despite what the task force was able to seize, Dunbar said intercepted phone calls indicated the group had been moving “multiple pounds” of cocaine and heroin each week.
With evidence generated from the wiretaps, 15 search and seizure warrants were executed on locations including Grempler Way, McCann Street, John Drive and Crimson Tree in Edgewood; Mountain Road in Fallston; Arena Road in Street; one location in Baltimore County; four locations in Baltimore City, two in the greater Atlanta area, and three vehicles.
Of those arrested, 13 face various drug distribution and conspiracy charges at the state level, and eight face federal charges, Dunbar said.
Playing a role in the investigation were the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland State Police, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace Police Departments, in cooperation with the FBI, Baltimore City Police Department, Baltimore County Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Marshal Service, the state police Fugitive Squad, the U.S. Army RAID Aviation Team, and DEA elements in Atlanta.
In addition to the efforts of the law enforcement agencies involved, Harford County State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly said tips and support from the Edgewood community helped lead to the arrests, and urged residents to continue reporting illegal activity, even if they don’t see immediate results.
“A lot of these investigations start through street tips and through call-in tips,” Cassilly said. “I know a lot of times people call in a tip on a drug deal or someone in their neighborhood and they think something should happen immediately, and if it doesn’t, then it was a wasted effort. But those types of tips, all put together, allow the police to make the picture they made in this particular case.”
Bane said the arrests largely dismantled the local branch of the WMD gang. However, Dunbar warned that large-scale arrests can create a power vacuum, into which a new generation may step.
“What that creates is that vacuum of power that we talk about,” he said. “Unfortunately there’s going to be another young man or young woman that’s going to be willing to take that leadership role out on the street because of the money or the status that can be made. And that’s why we have to be vigilant 24-7, and we are.”
Those facing state charges, including various drug distribution and conspiracy charges, are:
Ronald Bates, 22, Aberdeen
Shalon Coleman, 30, Havre de Grace
Jamie Dixon, 32, Edgewood
Lawrence Sterling Fox, 27, Edgewood
Conrad Gaylord, 19, Edgewood
Andrea Griffin, 22, Edgewood
Mercede C. Jacobson, 20, Edgewood
Dashawn Robinson, 22, Edgewood
Alexander Manuel, 20, Edgewood
Willie McKie, 25, Churchville
Melissa Marie Ryan, 20, Edgewood
Coty Wilson, 21, Fallston
Waymond Harrison, 30 (arrested in California, facing local cocaine distribution charges)
Jermale Bolling, 34 (arrested in Texas, facing local cocaine distribution charges)
Isaiah Sibert, 20 (was at one time listed as one of “Harford County’s Most Wanted”)