A Baltimore-area Drug Enforcement Administration task force seized more than 90 pounds of heroin Thursday after pulling over a vehicle on Interstate 95 in Howard County, court records show.
The amount of drugs could have a street value of more than $9 million, Special Agent Todd Edwards estimated.
"It's a very significant seizure," Edwards said.
A federal complaint unsealed Friday shows that police have been investigating a man named Perry Brown, 53, of Baltimore, and were tracking his phone when they received information about a possible drug transaction.
Investigators traced Brown's phone to a truck stop parking lot in the 8800 block of Washington Blvd. in Jessup, and watched as he removed two large bags from a tractor-trailer cab and placed them inside his vehicle, court records say. They followed Brown onto I-95, where Maryland Transportation Authority Police conducted a stop for alleged traffic violations near the I-195 exit.
Inside the vehicle, police found the two bags that contained about 41 kilograms of suspected heroin wrapped in tape and cellophane, court records say. Three cellphones were also recovered.
Brown was arrested, and two men from the motel who agents say were involved in the transaction — Juan Olvera Morales, 34, of Idaho and Alfredo Manuel Nevares, 41, of Utah — were also arrested. The DEA said Morales was seen in the truck stop parking lot directing the tractor-trailer as it was being driven by Nevares.
A search of the tractor-trailer and hotel rooms turned up no additional drugs.
All three have been charged in U.S. District Court with possession with the intent to distribute narcotics, and conspiracy to distribute narcotics, court records show. The charges each bring a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Brown, Morales and Nevares appeared in court Thursday and were ordered temporarily detained, pending a hearing next week. They did not have attorneys listed in court records.