Friday, Jan 29--Resort Area Drug, Burglary Ring Busted
OCEAN CITY - Ocean City police last week arrested nine suspects allegedly involved in an extensive narcotics distribution and burglary ring involving nearly 30 residences in the area including Ocean City, West Ocean City and Berlin.
The investigation began in November, focusing on the illegal distribution of oxycodone, but Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) detectives soon began to unravel a vast burglary ring involving the same suspects. In early January, an undercover OCPD detective was able to purchase two stolen flat screen televisions and two stolen DVD players from suspects involved in the oxycodone distribution ring. During the ensuing investigation, OCPD patrol officers and detectives were able to connect the suspects to several other burglaries throughout the Ocean City area.
Thus far, detectives have been able to identify 29 residences that were burglarized. In addition, search and seizure warrants were served at residences in Berlin and West Ocean City, resulting in the recovery of stolen televisions and related evidence. A search of a second West Ocean City residence led to the recovery of additional stolen televisions and a shotgun, which was also possibly stolen. While police have recovered a portion of the stolen property, investigators believe many of the stolen televisions may have been sold or traded for drugs and are still in the community.
Thus far, OCPD detectives, with the assistance of the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI), the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team and Maryland State Police Drug Task Force and the Worcester County STAR team, has been able to seize over $3,000 and recover seven stolen flat screen televisions, numerous personal electronic devices and a shotgun.
However, the recovered televisions, electronic devices and the shotgun could be just the tip of the iceberg. Investigators continue to pursue active leads and anticipate recovering more of the stolen property including approximately 25 additional flat screen televisions. The investigation may lead to the issuance of more search and seizure warrants authorizing the recovery of stolen property. The OCPD is asking citizens to contact the Criminal Investigation Division if they possess or have knowledge of a television or electronic device they suspect may have been stolen.
The OCPD, with the approval of the Worcester County State's Attorney's Office, is prepared to grant amnesty from prosecution to those persons not involved in the burglaries who come forward on or before Feb. 14. Citizens should contact the OCPD with information regarding the burglaries or the location of any stolen property. Anyone found in possession of stolen items that does not come forward will be charged and prosecuted, according to an OCPD release.
A total of nine suspects in the alleged drug distribution-burglary ring have been arrested. For example, Shawn Barry White, 22, of Berlin, has been charged with 18 counts of first-degree burglary, three counts of theft, and one count each of possession of controlled dangerous substance (CDS), distribution of CDS and purchasing a non-CDS. Christopher Tyler Kreppel, 24, of Ocean City, has been charged with 13 counts of first-degree burglary, and one count each of theft, distribution of CDS and purchasing a non-CDS. David Lee Powell, 21, of Berlin, has been charged with 18 counts of first-degree burglary and three counts of theft.
Six other suspects have been arrested and charged on the drug possession and distribution side of the investigation. Gary Lee Montgomery, Jr., 33, of Bishopville, and Jerry Lee Gully, 23, of Pittsville, have each been charged with one count of possession of CDS. Michael Alan Cooper, 25, of Ocean City, has been charged with one count each of possession and distribution of CDS.
Shawna Nowell Williams, 19, of Berlin, has been charged with three counts each of possession and distribution of CDS, while Justin Matthew Caple, 21, of Rawlings, Md., and Michael Anthony Gates, 21, of Bishopville, have each been charged with purchasing a non-CDS.
Anyone with information regarding the stolen items is urged to contact OCPD Detective Brett Case at 410-723-6632, or bring the property to the OCPD headquarters on 65th Street.