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27 Arrested For Heroin, Marijuana in Frederick County

"I can tell you that once it gets into your community, it's definitely like a cancer."
Frederick, Md. – After suspending two deputies last week, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office is looking to end the year on the right foot. They have arrested 27 people for heroin possession and other drug related charges. 

The four-day investigation happens in light of a recent upswing in heroin trafficking throughout the area.

"It's just a nail them and jail them type of law enforcement,” said Charles Smith, State Attorney for Frederick County. “We're trying to be proactive, we're trying to get these people some help, and of course lead them away from a life of addiction to heroin."

A recent upswing in heroin overdoses and deaths have caused local officials to band together to tackle the problem. Five units from the Frederick County Sheriff's Office participated in a joint program over a four-day period in the month December - working to stop heroin before it hit the streets.

"Deputies conducted enforcement of the motor vehicle law,” said Lieutenant Ron Hibbard. “As a result of the traffic violations, the deputies are trained to observe signs to indicate that individuals may be involved in other crimes, and they take that traffic stop a little bit further."
 
Officials made about 100 routine traffic stops in the four-day period, pulling people over for basic violations like speeding or a broken tail light. From those stops, they arrested 27 people for drug related charges.

"We found a number of different types of drugs, heroin, marijuana, cocaine and different prescription medications," said Hibbard.

Heroin hasn't been an issue in Frederick County until recent years. But because of the rate of addiction to the drug, officials are taking the problem extremely seriously.

"I can tell you that once it gets into your community, it's definitely like a cancer,” said Smith. “This is a very addictive drug, that people can't get off of easily. Just take a look at any metropolitan area, and you'll see a lot of overdose deaths, and all the methadone clinics are full."

Many of the individuals arrested were only charged with possession; however that allows officials to get them into the system, where they can receive the kind of basic treatment they need to help them beat the addiction.

"That's our ultimate goal: to try and reduce the number of overdoses and deaths that we're seeing in this area,” said Hibbard. “And if we can intercept the drugs, before they reach the individuals using them, then that's what our main goal is."

Officials believe the same individuals who are using heroin, are also committing other crimes, like burglaries and thefts. They believe that pulling them off the street for heroin use will hopefully have a domino effect, causing overall crime rates to go down.

The investigation is still ongoing, and the sheriff’s office hopes to continue with more common traffic stops in the months to come.
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