A 37-year-old Edgewood man was arrested on gun and drug distribution charges in Ocean City on Tuesday following a two-year investigation by local law enforcement agencies, which have been battling a spike in heroin and prescription drug abuse across the Eastern Shore.
Officers with the Ocean City Police Department and the Worcester County Sheriff's Office arrested Jerry Lee Hurt about 6 a.m. in Ocean City, while executing search warrants obtained through the investigation at homes in Ocean City, West Ocean City and Berlin, where Hurt also resides, police said.
Hurt's arrest follows other high-profile drug busts in Ocean City in recent months, the result of increased enforcement efforts aimed at undercutting a growing heroin epidemic. In December, the police department in Maryland's largest beach resort announced the indictments of more than 20 people on felony drug charges relating to the seizure of more than 100 bags of heroin.
At the time, the police department said it had experienced a 550 percent increase in heroin cases compared to 2011. There have also been a spike in drug arrests in the city.
The trend mirrors increases in heroin problems in other parts of the state as well, as continued law enforcement efforts to curtail abuse of prescription pain killers has led to an increase in heroin use, according to law enforcement agencies and state health officials.
Hurt, who is on parole for drug distribution in Harford County — another area where drug abuse has risen — has been charged in Ocean City with possession of heroin, cocaine and oxycodone, as well as with the intent to distribute the three drugs. He has also been charged with two gun offenses.
Hurt has been transferred to the Worcester County jail on a $100,000 bond, police said.