BEL AIR, Md. - On a table laden with assault rifles and cash, cocaine and marijuana, don’t miss the 1,500 little pills.
Investigators say one of the largest drug rings in Harford County made its money off of prescription pain killers.
"There was a huge demand,” said Lt. Lee Dunbar of the Harford County Task Force, “It even kind of took us off guard. We knew it was there, but when we started putting this organization together, listening to these phone calls during the wire tap, we just learned how pervasive it is throughout the community."
Police say the wiretap handed them the suspected ring leaders, Ronnie Stocks of Abingdon, along with three other key distributors---Joseph Ercolano of Fallston, Sean Holloway of White Marsh and Eric Smith of Nottingham.
Those four suspects, along with ten others, wrote false prescriptions or purchased legitimate pain killers from patients to re-sale on the black market for as much as $30 per pill.
"There's a great demand for this kind of drug,” said Harford County Sheriff L. Jesse Bane, “so much so that those involved in the sale of heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine have moved into the illegal prescription drug trade."
In fact, the sheriff claims prescription pills have now replaced marijuana as the most commonly abused illegal substance in Harford County accounting for 80% of the drug overdoses there in the last year alone.
Police say the buyers know no bounds, ranging from teenagers to the elderly, and the ring made the drugs as easily obtainable as making a phone call to order up a delivery.
All toll, members of that task force executed more than 30 search warrants in an eight-hour period in Baltimore, Harford and Anne Arundel Counties.
Along with the drugs and weapons, they seized 10 vehicles and more than $30,000 in cash.
Fourteen people were arrested and charged including:
* Ronnie Stocks, age 33, Abingdon, MD
* Joseph Ercolano, age 32, Fallston, MD
* Sean C. Holloway, age 36, White Marsh, MD
* Eric Smith, age 34, Nottingham, MD
* Sharon Gillums, age 50, Edgewood, MD
* Brent S. Musgrove, age 36, Aberdeen, MD
* William C. Kendall, age 44, Bel Air, MD
* Matthew C. Kolakowski, age 29, Abingdon, MD
* Gregory Sobieski, age 25, Bel Air, MD
* Kenneth J. Darr, age 36, White Marsh, MD
* Wilbert Whitaker III, age 24, Bel Air, MD
* Curtis Carter, age 36, Havre de Grace, MD
* Taaz A. Robinson, age 28, Aberdeen, MD
* Ryan C. Sturm, age 27, Towson, MD
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