ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The fight on illegal opioid distribution in Maryland saw a major victory this week with the announcement of indictments on the operators of a large-scale drug enterprise. The massive amount of drugs seized by officials is believed to be the equivalent of fatal doses for millions of Marylanders.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh held a press conference with the Anne Arundel Police Department Wednesday afternoon to trumpet the arrests of five individuals -- four of whom are from the same family -- in a complex, coordinated drug distribution scheme across multiple jurisdictions that include Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County.
Dwayne Booze, 48, of Baltimore, 51-year-old Thomas Timothy Booze of Baltimore, 47-year-old Maurice Dotson of Severn, 27-year-old Michael Booze of Glen Burnie, and 31-year-old Thomas William Booze of Glen Burnie were all charged with multiple crimes such as conspiracy to distribute drugs, participating in a criminal organization, and firearm-related charges.
“Dwayne Booze, charged under the Drug Kingpin statute, worked with family members to distribute deadly narcotics and opioids under the guise of legitimate businesses," Frosh said.
According to officials from the press conference, investigators learned that the organization was using two autobody shops, located in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County, to orchestrate the distribution of controlled dangerous substances. Detectives observed dozens of hand-to-hand drug transactions in multiple jurisdictions and intercepted communications over a wiretap that confirmed the distribution of large amounts of controlled dangerous substances.
“This 10-month investigation was a huge undertaking with our dedicated detectives spending thousands of hours collecting evidence that ultimately led to the dismantling of a major drug trafficking organization,” said Anne Arundel County Chief of Police Amal Awad.
During search and seizures of the two suspected autobody shop locations, Police seized more than five kilograms of fentanyl, more than 500 grams of heroin, and more than seven kilograms of cocaine and cocaine base. Additionally, police located a sophisticated marijuana grow operation at the Baltimore City shop location with more than 400 marijuana plants. Police say they also seized nine firearms as part of the investigation.
County Executive Steuart Pittman released a statement praising the efforts by the state and local agencies involved and emphasizing the push to keep the region free of drugs.
“We know that keeping illegal drugs off of our streets - especially fentanyl, a key driver of opioid-related deaths across the nation - is critical to our county’s public safety efforts," said Pittman. "I want to thank Attorney General Brian Frosh for partnering with Anne Arundel County Police Chief Amal Awad and our Police Department, for their shared efforts in pursuing this investigation."
The defendants’ cases will be handled in Anne Arundel County.