EASTON, Md. (WJZ) — Authorities on Tuesday announced the indictments of nine Maryland residents as part of a multi-agency effort to dismantle a significant drug trafficking organization operating on the Eastern Shore.

The crackdown netted 18 kilograms of cocaine, 2.7 kilograms of heroin and fentanyl, 5.9 kilograms of methamphetamine, 170 pounds of marijuana and 34 guns, three of them ghost guns, Maryland State Police Lt. Adam Howard told reporters.

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“A half-kilogram of fentanyl was taken in and 2.2 kilograms of heroin were taken in,” Caroline County State’s Attorney Joseph Riley said. “According to the DEA, that’s enough fentanyl to kill 230,000 people, and when you mix it with the heroin, that’s enough fatal doses to kill every individual on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.”

Among those indicted were 41-year-old Justin Spain of Lanham, who’s accused of being the organization’s main supplier, along with 36-year-old Michael Holland of Hurlock and 39-year-old Gregory Williams Jr. of Federalsburg, both of whom are alleged to have been Spain’s key distributors.

“We are working with agencies throughout the nation to identify Justin Spain’s main suppliers… wherever he was getting the product from,” said Howard, who described the rest of those indicted in the case as “low-level distributors.”

The indictments and seizures were the products of a years-long investigation into the organization, which is believed to have had ties to Anne Arundel, Caroline, Dorchester and Prince George’s counties.

Howard said the investigation began in 2019 with tips received by a Maryland State trooper, Howard said. He said databases and surveillance, along with other tools and efforts, led investigators to Holland and Williams. Later, he said, the Caroline County Drug Task Force identified Spain as the organization’s “main supplier.”

On Feb. 24, the task force served eleven search warrants at homes across Maryland. Howard said the raids resulted in the recovery of the drugs, some cash and roughly 34 firearms, three of which were “privately manufactured,” or ghost guns.

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The lieutenant said the combined street value of the drugs recovered during the investigation was at least $1 million.

Spain, who is being held without bond at the Caroline County Detention Center, faces a list of charges including two counts of being a drug kingpin along with possession and distribution of a large amount of a controlled dangerous substance, among other offenses.

Holland and Williams, both of whom remain in custody at the Dorchester County Detention Center, face similar lists of charges including multiple counts of being a drug kingpin and various drug possession and distribution charges.

Riley, the Caroline County State’s Attorney, noted that Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties each have populations of roughly 35,000–significantly smaller than the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas.

“These drugs were not just intended for these three small rural counties,” he said. “The reality is they were intended for the large metropolitan areas along the Mid-Atlantic.”

Others indicted in the case include: Margerette Derosiers, 28, of Federalsburg; Andre Woolford, 33, of Hurlock; Joseph Spain, 44, and Michelle Spain, 48, both of Preston; James Simms, 36, of Great Mills; and George Butler, 56, of Federalsburg.

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All of them remain in custody without bond.

Ava-joye Burnett