CUMBERLAND, Md. (WJZ) — Seventeen people were arrested and charged in connection with a drug trafficking ring in Allegany County and surrounding areas.

The ring allegedly distributed fentanyl, heroin and cocaine.

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The organization was busted by Maryland State Police’s Heroin Investigative Unit and Allegany County Narcotics Task Force earlier this month after authorities began looking into the group in 2018.

John James Howard, 33, of Baltimore was identified as the leader of the illegal drug network. Howard faces 109 drug-related charges after a grand jury returned an indictment against him on May 15.

John Howard. Credit: Maryland State Police

During the course of the investigation, police learned fentanyl/heroin and crack cocaine was being transported from Baltimore and stored in Allegany County. Then the traffickers allegedly distributed the drugs throughout the county.

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Sixteen others were charged as co-conspirators:

  • Dijhon Sanders, 26 of Baltimore, Maryland – 4 drug-related offenses to include distribution large amount, fentanyl
  • Frank Edmonds, 56, of Baltimore, Maryland – 9 drug-related offenses including conspiracy to distribute large amount of heroin
  • Cody Propst, 37, of Lavale, Maryland – 23 drug-related offenses
  • Robert Johnson, 56, of Frostburg, MD – 17 drug-related offenses
  • Melanie Johnson, 39, of Frostburg, Maryland – 17 drug-related offenses
  • Reid Golden, 46, of Cumberland, Maryland – 7 drug-related offenses including common nuisance and distribution of heroin.
  • Alyse Beck, 31, of Cumberland, Maryland – 5 drug-related offenses including conspiracy to distribute large amount
  • Jonathon May, of Cumberland, Maryland – 5 drug-related offenses including conspiracy to distribute large amount of illegal drugs
  • Donnie Burley, 50, of Cumberland, Maryland – 2 drug-related offenses
  • Ashlie Rhodes, 25, of Cumberland, Maryland – 9 drug-related offenses
  • Dereck Lewis, 28, of Cumberland, Maryland – 4 drug-related offenses
  • Crystal Vanmeter, 24, of Lavale, Maryland – 8 drug-related offenses
  • Travis Keller, 47, of Cresaptown, Maryland – 16 drug-related offenses
  • Gary Broadwater, 47, of Frostburg, Maryland – 7 drug-related offenses
  • Brianna Lear, 22, of Westernport, Maryland – 1 drug-related offense
  • Ashley Davis, 32, of Cresaptown, Maryland – 2 drug-related offenses



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