By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A nearly two-year interstate and multi-jurisdictional heroin investigation has resulted in the arrests of 19 people.

Investigators say the operation was supplying heroin and fentanyl to Baltimore and the surrounding area.

The investigation began in June 2016 when members of the Maryland State Police Gang Enforcement Unit identified street level drug dealers in the Brooklyn and Brooklyn Park areas of Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County.

This came after citizen tips about street level drug sales and investigations into opioid-related drug overdoses.

Throughout the investigation, the Heroin Investigation Unit made multiple street-level drug arrests and recognized the scope of a specific drug trafficking organization operating in Brooklyn Park and other Baltimore neighborhoods.

“It’s real bad around here,” one resident said. “You can go on any corner and get it.”

The investigation culminated Tuesday as police served multiple search warrants and indictments in the Baltimore area. The network of trafficking suspects reached from Baltimore to the Bronx in New York City.

In addition to the 19 arrests during the investigation, police recovered 1,075 grams of heroin, 66 grams of fentanyl, and more than 200 grams of cocaine and crack cocaine. Police recovered one handgun, three vehicles used in drug trafficking, several thousand dollars in drug-related cash and scales, gel caps and plastic baggies used for drug sales.

“Folks are unwittingly using that is huge, really really huge. Fentanyl will kill you in micrograms,” said Gary Tuggle of the Baltimore police. “I hope those drug trafficking groups that are on the street thinking that diluting heroin with fentanyl to try to disguise it, well know that we are going to be super aggressive and coming after them.”

The DEA says fentanyl related overdoses in the state went from 25 to 1,700 in a matter of five years.

In Anne Arundel County, police say they can trace 87 overdoses and 7 fatalities straight back to suppliers in the drug ring.

“I’m very happy about that because I think that’s one less issue in the area,” another resident said.

Five of the suspects in the case were indicted last week. They are:

  • Joseph Milligan, 39, of Baltimore, charged with distribution of heroin, distribution of fentanyl, conspiracy to unlawfully transport into MD a large quantity of heroin, conspiracy to unlawfully transport into MD a large quantity of fentanyl
  • Marquise McElveen, 35, of Baltimore, charged with distribution of heroin, distribution of fentanyl, distribution of heroin to an undercover police officer, distribution of fentanyl to an undercover police officer, possession of fentanyl, possession of heroin
  • Kereem Thompson, 42, of Bronx, NY, charged with distribution of heroin, distribution of fentanyl, conspiracy to distribute heroin, conspiracy to distribute fentanyl
  • Randie Howard, 31, of Baltimore, charged with distribution of heroin, distribution of fentanyl, possession of heroin, possession of fentanyl
  • Travis Anderson, 31, of Baltimore, charged with distribution of fentanyl to an undercover police officer, distribution of fentanyl, distribution of heroin, possession of fentanyl

The other four suspects charged with felony drug crimes include:

  • Bryant Wallace, 45, of Baltimore, charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, possession of a large amount of heroin, possession of a large amount of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia
  • William Schlichting Sr., 57, of Baltimore, charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy possession with intent to distribute heroin, conspiracy possession with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to possess heroin, conspiracy to possess cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Tina Schlichting, 35, of Baltimore, charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy possession with intent to distribute heroin, conspiracy possession with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to possess heroin, conspiracy to possess cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Derek Hadaway, 32, of Baltimore, charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy possession with intent to distribute heroin, conspiracy possession with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to possess heroin, conspiracy to possess cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia

The remaining suspects arrested during the investigation were charged with misdemeanor drug offenses.

Police say they found three vehicles used for trafficking and thousands of dollars in cash.

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