OCEAN CITY, Md.- Ocean City police say a 6-week-long undercover drug investigation has led to the arrests of 26 people on distribution charges.
Police said the arrests followed an extensive six-week undercover drug investigation stemming from an overwhelming increasen heroin abuse this year. Police said they conducted approximately 72 drug buys of heroin, cocaine, prescriptions and marijuana, with heroin as the predominant drug.
On Nov. 27, Ocean City Police narcotics detectives went before the Worcester County Grand Jury, which resulted in the indictments of 23 suspects for various drug distribution charges.
The indicted suspects are identified as:
Bruce Culver Bennett, 31, of Ocean City, Md. (In Custody)
Thomas Kelly Myers, 35, of Ocean City, Md. (Not in Custody)
Jessica Stone Vincent, 29, Ocean City, Md. (Not in Custody)
Joshua Allen Drennan, 20, of Ocean City, Md. (Not in Custody)
Edward Allen Paddy, 37, of Ocean City, Md. (In Custody)
Charles Darick Andrews, 33, of Ocean City, Md. (Not in Custody)
Sheron Levette Purnell, 40, of Berlin, Md. (Not in Custody)
Anthony DeLarry Hayward, 31, of Berlin, Md. (In Custody)
Michael Anthony Jones, 42, of Ocean City, Md. (Not in Custody)
Thomas Wayne Purnell Jr., 25, of Berlin, Md. (In Custody)
Hunter William Davis, 25, of Ocean City, Md. (In Custody)
Michael Eugene Helmbright, 41, of Ocean City, Md. (In Custody)
Erik Ryan Curry, 24, of Berlin, Md. (In Custody) (In Custody)
James Joseph "Joey" Glenn Jr., 22 of Berlin, Md. (In Custody)
Christopher Shaun Fitzpatrick, 32, of Ocean City, Md. (In Custody)
Cody Lee Bradshaw, 26, of Cambridge, Md. (In Custody)
Jennifer Lynn Adams, 36, of Ocean City, Md. (In Custody)
Shelly Ann Brittingham, 41, of Delmar, Del. (In Custody)
Daniel Zellman, 19, of Whaleyville, Md. (In Custody)
Taylor David Bakke, 22, of Berlin, Md. (In Custody)
Tracey Lee Shaffer, 43, of Ocean City, Md. (In Custody)
Nicholas Alexander Palmisano, 18, of Ocean City, Md. (In Custody)
Tori Logan DeCelles, 21, of Ocean City, Md. (In Custody)
The 23 suspects were either held or sought on bonds ranging from $100,000 to $300,000.
On Thursday, Nov. 29, police detectives served a search and seizure warrant on Louis Joseph Rychwalski III, 27, of Ocean City. Investigators said Rychwalski was found to be in possession of four "bundles" of heroin, which amounted to 46 bags of heroin.
Detectives also arrested two additional suspects — Nicholas Alexander Palmisano, 18, of Ocean City and Edward Allen Paddy, 37 of Ocean City — who polcie said were coming to meet with Rychwalski to buy heroin.
Rychwalski, who was not one of the aforementioned indicted suspects, has been charged with various drug charges including possession with the intent to distribute heroin. He was being held on $75,000 bond.
During the search and seizure warrant at Rychwalski's home, detectives said they located additional heroin, drug paraphernalia and two replica handguns in the house.
On Nov. 29, while police were attempting to locate and arrest indicted suspects, officers stopped a vehicle containing an indicted suspect, Shelly Anne Brittingham, 41, of Delmar, Del. Police said that during the stop, they recovered a total of 63 bags of heroin from the vehicle.
Further investigation revealed two additional suspects, identified as Quamaine Lamar Huggins, 20, of Delmar, and Stephanie Lynne Orick, 24, of Hebron, who were both charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, according to investigators.
A third suspect, who police said was driving the car, identified as Markel Lamar Barkley, 21, of Quantico, was arrested and charged with possession of heroin. The vehicle was seized pending forfeiture.
Police arrested additional wanted suspects as a result of the indictments. Investigators said that in all, 26 suspects were arrests, three vehicles were seized, 110 bags of heroin were confiscated, along with five bags of cocaine, five replica handguns, and $656 in cash.
There are still five outstanding wanted persons from this investigation, according to police. Those suspects were identified as Jessica Stone Vincent, Joshua Allen Drenman, Charles Darick Andrews, Sheron Levette Purnell and Michael Anthony Jones.
Ocean City police said they continue the search for the indicted suspects. If they are unable to be located in Ocean City, the search for them will be turned over to the Maryland State Police Fugitive Recovery Squad.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the six fugitives is asked to call the Ocean City Police Department at (410) 723-6610.
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