Baltimore police officials say they’ve made a dent in South Baltimore through a recent investigation and subsequent string of indictments in a Brooklyn drug trafficking case.
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis announced today that prosecutors have charged 14 men in the neighborhood in connection with a heroin and cocaine trafficking investigation. Of that group, eight have been arrested, while six, pictured above, remain on the loose.
“Guns, gangs and drugs continue to fuel violence in Baltimore in 2017,” said Davis in opening up the press conference. He then narrowed his scope, saying police and prosecutors recently charged a group of men — all “repeat offenders,” he said – who allegedly engaged in a pattern of drug dealing and violence around 5th Avenue and Patapsco Street. He described the area as having a heavy presence of Bloods gang members.
Police and prosecutors targeted Adrian Worrell, who turns 34 tomorrow. Court records indicate Worrell has been charged with possession of narcotics with intent to distribute and related offenses.
Seven of his “criminal associates” face similar charges for allegedly selling drugs in a small area of the neighborhood that Davis said “was driving the violence in Baltimore earlier this year.” While police recovered a stolen handgun, none of the indicted men face charges for violent offenses.
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby spoke briefly, commending a “collaborative and tireless” effort by the police department. She declined to give more specifics, saying, “this is an open and pending matter.”
Davis rattled off stats for a sense of scope: Seven murders in Brooklyn last year; 21 non-fatal shootings the year before; and two homicides and 11 non-fatal shootings in the first five months of this year alone.
The department also released this crime map of the various shootings, killings and robberies that occurred around the neighborhood in the last three years:
As a whole, Baltimore has seen 151 homicides through this morning, the fastest pace for murders on record. According to the Baltimore Sun’s crime map, 19 homicides have taken place in the Southern District this year, eight of them in and around Brooklyn.
Asked whether police see these indictments as potentially dampening overall violence, Davis replied, “We’re confident that this particular effort in Brooklyn… will result in a much quieter 2017 for South Baltimore.”
He also said police have “seen the violence slow” in the neighborhood in the last couple months due to coordinated enforcement, but added, “we know the community will be much safer when we get the other six in custody.”
Pressed about the city’s overall murder rate and the efficacy of the current policing approach, Davis defended his strategy: “Anyone who doesn’t think there’s a plan, anyone who doesn’t think there’s a strategy, anyone who doesn’t think that there’s collaboration that’s occurring between our law enforcement partners…is choosing not to pay attention.”
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