Harford oxycodone ring busted after 5-year probe

After a five-year undercover investigation, the Harford County Drug Task Force has broken a drug ring that has been illegally selling oxycodone in Harford and surrounding counties, arresting the alleged leader and one of his alleged co-conspirators and identifying 31 alleged co-conspirators, according to court records.

Evan D. Strong, the suspected leader of the drug ring, was arrested without incident at about 9 p.m. March 9, in a motel parking lot in North East, as he arrived to allegedly pick up another shipment of illegal oxycodone that had just arrived in Cecil County from Brooklyn, N.Y., according to charging documents.

Strong, whose address is the 1400 block of Charlestown Drive, K Court, in Edgewood, has been charged with distribution of narcotics and conspiracy to distribute narcotics. He was being held Thursday in the Harford County Detention Center in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Antoine Times, a 33-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y. resident, was arrested in the same North East motel parking lot minutes before Strong, according to charging documents, which also state that Times was allegedly delivering the oxycodone from Brooklyn. He was being held Thursday in the Cecil County Detention Center in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Court charging documents for Strong include a wealth of details about how the drug ring operated, as well as the investigation that cracked it.

Beginning in March of 2009, the Harford County Drug Task Force had information "that Strong is selling in Harford and surrounding counties in Maryland," according to charging documents. As part of that investigation, the task force was granted court approval to intercept calls to and from Strong's cell phone, starting on Jan. 22, 2014.

On March 9, the day of the arrest, members of the task force "intercepted numerous drug-related phone calls on Antoine Times phone," according to charging documents. With that intercepted information, investigators set up at the North East motel and waited for Times and Strong to arrive. At about 8:54 p.m. that day, police saw Times arrive and arrested him without incident. Minutes later, Strong arrived and was also arrested.

Earlier in the investigation, police used intercepted cell phone information to pull off a smaller bust.

On Jan. 25, according to court documents, police watched an unidentified suspect go into Strong's residence and leave a short time later. That suspect's vehicle was then stopped by members of the Gang Suppression Unit of the Harford County Sheriff's Office. Police found eight 30 mg oxycodone pills, one 1 mg oxycodone pill and one 1 mg alprazolam pill. That suspect "was released from the scene pending a further investigation," according to court records.

Investigators used that information as a lead to the alleged delivery of "a large supply of oxycodone," according to court records. That, in turn, led to the arrests of Strong and Times.

Court records don't name the 31 alleged co-conspirators or indicate their fates, nor, do the records say exactly how much oxycodone was involved the planned North East delivery, or its street value. The records also don't say how much oxycodone Strong is alleged to have sold.

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