CUMBERLAND – The Maryland State Police Heroin Investigative Unit, led by the Allegany County Narcotics Task Force, has identified and arrested the leader of a drug trafficking organization composed of Blood street gang members and associates involved in the distribution of fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine, and the trafficking of firearms from New York to Allegany County.


In addition, 20 suspected co-conspirators were charged; among them was a Mineral County man.


"Operation Blood Clot" was the investigative effort initiated in July 2019 by the Maryland State Police Heroin Investigative Unit, in conjunction with the Allegany County Narcotics Task Force and the Allegany County State's Attorney’s Office. The investigation targeted a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing large quantities of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine.


The year-long investigation resulted in Juerbar Otis Thomas, 43, of Cumberland, formally of the Bronx, New York, being indicted by an Allegany County Grand Jury on 64 drug-related offenses, to include a charge of being a drug kingpin.


On May 25, 2020, investigators with the Allegany County Narcotics Task Force, Maryland State Police Gang Enforcement Unit, STATE Team, Cumberland Barrack and Homicide Unit, along with the West Virginia State Police, Cumberland Police Department, Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, and Frostburg City Police Department, served search warrants in the 300 block of City View Terrace, Boone Street, 100 block of Mechanic Street, 400 block of Baltimore Avenue and the unit-block of West First Street, Cumberland. Additional search warrants were served in the East Main Street area of Frostburg and the Old Furnace Road area of Mineral County.


Large amounts of suspected fentanyl, heroin, crack cocaine, drug-related cash and firearms were recovered by police. During the investigation, police recovered 13 guns. Drugs they recovered included more than 1,200 grams of fentanyl with a street value of more than $192,000, more than 99 grams of heroin with a street value of almost $16,000 and more than 475 grams of cocaine with a street value of more than $47,500.


The investigation developed sufficient evidence to allege Thomas was the organizer, supervisor and manager of the drug trafficking organization. Thomas obtained fentanyl, heroin and cocaine from Bronx, New York and distributed those drugs in Allegany County, Maryland and West Virginia.


Thomas and his associates were also discovered to be manufacturing fentanyl and heroin pills which mimicked prescription opioid pills. Thomas was arrested May 25 and has been held without bond in the Allegany County Detention Center since.


An Allegany Grand Jury also indicted 20 co-conspirators in connection with Thomas’s drug trafficking organization. They are:


Byron Jamar Simms, Frostburg – 30 counts of drug and firearm related offenses


Anthony Robert Joyner, Cumberland – 12 counts of drug and firearm related offenses


Raymond William Seabrook, Cumberland – 43 counts of drug and firearm related offenses


Akosua Denise Seabrook, Cumberland – 29 counts of drug and firearm related offenses


Jakela Tonice Watkins, Cumberland – One count, drug-related offense


Leonard Wayne Metzner, Cumberland – Three counts of drug related offenses


Mark Feodor Smith Sr., Cumberland – One count of a drug related offense


Michelle Beth Kline, Cumberland – One count of a drug related offense


Sandra Diane Rust, Bedford, Pennsylvania – Six counts of drug-related offenses


Reginald Murray, Cumberland – One count of a drug-related offense


Shane Lee York, Cumberland – Two counts of drug-related offenses


Shawn Alan Mullaney, Cumberland – One count of a drug-related offense


Stephanie Ann Blickenstaff, Cumberland – One count of a drug-related offenses


Terry Lee Harris, Keyser – One count of a drug-related offense


Alexis Nicol Fisher, Frostburg – Three counts of drug-related offenses


Brian Borden, Cumberland – Two counts of drug-related offenses


Clayton Shaquille Booker, Cumberland – One count of a drug-related offense


Cierra Desiree VanMeter, Cumberland – One count of a drug-related offense


David Dean Howe Jr., Bedford, Pennsylvania – Six counts of drug-related offenses


Emily Nicole Mitchell, Cumberland – Two counts of drug-related offenses


These suspects were served with their Grand Jury indictments on July 7, 2020, except for Watkins, Metzner and Fisher. Warrants are outstanding for their arrests.


Also participating in the investigation was the Cumberland City Police Department and Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, under the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network (MCIN). The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services provides grant funding and strategic support to MCIN member sites to identify, disrupt, and dismantle criminal organizations through inter-agency collaboration and data sharing to make Maryland safer.


In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of drug-related overdose deaths in Maryland. This escalation is largely attributable to increases in opiate-related abuse. In response to the alarming trend, Governor Larry Hogan issued Executive Order 01.01.2015.12, creating the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, charged with advising and assisting Governor Hogan in establishing a coordinated statewide and multi-jurisdictional effort to prevent, treat, and significantly reduce heroin and opioid abuse.


In its final report, the Governor’s Task Force included 33 recommendations to combat the heroin epidemic. These included the creation of a multi-jurisdictional Maryland State Police Heroin Investigation Unit to focus on mid-to-upper-level heroin and opioid distribution operations.


In 2019, there were 119 non-fatal and 24 fatal overdoses reported in Allegany County. So far in 2020, the rate of overdoses in the county has increased with 83 non-fatal and 18 fatal overdoses reported to date.