Water Rescue in Westernport
ACDES May 25, 2019
WESTERNPORT – Fire and rescue personnel rescued eight adults, three children and two dogs from the Potomac River Saturday afternoon after the occupants became disconnected from the kayaks they were in, according to officials.

“Units were dispatched at 1:04 p.m. to the area of the Maryland Avenue ball field for reports of kayaks floating with no occupants,” Todd Bowman, public information officer for Allegany County Department of Emergency Services said. “The occupants were familiar with the area and able to give our Joint Communications Center good landmarks to be located by fire and rescue personnel.”

As part of a multi-agency response, technicians trained in water and rope rescue responded from Westernport, Piedmont, Bowling Green, Cresaptown, LaVale, Barton, Allegany County Swift Water Team, Allegany County Department of Emergency Services EMS Division and Tri-Towns EMS.

“No occupants were transported from the scene. One person was evaluated on scene for a minor injury,” Bowman said.

The 11 occupants became stuck on an island in the middle of the river and because of turbulence were not able to self-rescue. These people were ferried over by emergency service boats from Bowling Green and LaVale fire departments, according to Bowman.

“Two adults were able to self-rescue prior to the arrival of emergency services,” Bowman added. “One to the Maryland side of the river and the second to the West Virginia side.”

Units remained on scene for approximately two hours.
Water Rescue

Major Drug Bust
MSP May 24, 2019
(CUMBERLAND, MD) – The Maryland State Police Heroin Investigative Unit, in conjunction with the Allegany County Narcotics Task Force, identified and arrested members of a drug trafficking organization that allegedly distributed fentanyl, heroin and cocaine in Allegany County and surrounding areas.

The investigation, which began in 2018, identified John James Howard, 33, of Baltimore, as the alleged leader, supervisor, financier and manager of an illegal drug network which spanned from Baltimore City to Allegany County. Howard faces 109 drug-related charges after the Allegany County grand jury returned an indictment against him on May 15, 2019.

During the week of May 14, 2019, investigators from the Maryland State Police and Allegany County Narcotics Task Force served search warrants in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Allegany County related to the investigation. During the course of the investigation it was learned fentanyl/heroin and crack cocaine was being transported from Baltimore and stored in Allegany County. The organization would then distribute the controlled substances at locations throughout the county.

In addition to Howard, 16 co-conspirators were also indicted by the grand jury related to their roles in the drug trafficking organization. They are as follows:

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
The Allegany County Narcotics Task Force is a cooperative effort between the Maryland State Police, Allegany County Sheriff’s Office and the Cumberland Police Department. Assisting in the investigation were members of the Maryland State Police Gang Enforcement Unit, Maryland State Police Strike Force 7, Maryland State Police S.T.A.T.E., Garrett County Drug Task Force, Maryland State Police – Criminal Enforcement Division Western Region, Maryland State Police Golden Ring and Cumberland Barracks, Maryland State Police Homicide Unit, West Virginia State Police, Cumberland Police Department, Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Baltimore City Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of drug-related overdose deaths in Maryland. This overall 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.

On December 1, 2015, the Governor’s Task Force released its final report, which included 33 recommendations to combat the heroin epidemic. One of those recommendations included the creation of a multi-jurisdictional Maryland State Police unit, known as the Heroin Investigation Unit, to focus on mid-to-upper-level heroin and opioid distribution operations.

The case remains under investigation.
Those Arrested