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Carroll remains in cross-jurisdictional network for investigating criminal networks, drug distributors

Brian DeLeonardo
Brian DeLeonardo (Carroll County Times)

State-level grant funding will allow Carroll County to remain an active member in a cross-jurisdictional network for enforcement and prosecution against criminal networks and drug distribution chains.

The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) awarded a $232,813 grant to the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office for efforts to “gather data and information for the successful prosecution and dismantling of criminal networks as part of the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network (MCIN)," according to a news release through the State’s Attorney’s Office.

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Carroll County has been a part of the MCIN since 2018, and is one of 13 sites.

Criminal networks hit Carroll the hardest in the form of drug distributors traveling in from other jurisdictions to sell to Carroll users, according to Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo.

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“Criminals don’t stay in one jurisdiction, and police and prosecutors can’t either,” he said.

Information flows both ways. Info from outside can help prosecutors identify the larger network of a dealer arrested in Carroll. The goal is to “work with other agencies to stop the flow entirely,” DeLeonardo said.

In the same vein, a case identified in Carroll might help investigators looking at a larger group outside the county.

The grant funding allows the State’s Attorney’s Office to continue funding two full-time positions, a prosecutor and a crime analyst, as well as software and equipment.

Allen Albaugh is the crime analyst, drawing on experience from a career with the Maryland State Police. Within the State’s Attorney’s Office, he has had a role in the Major Opioid Initiative, launched in 2017, analyzing overdose data and identifying patterns.

Special Counsel to the State’s Attorney Cara Frieman was assigned to supervise the project. Frieman is part of the Major Offender’s unit of the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office, and previously worked in Major Investigations in Baltimore City.

“She’s uniquely qualified to develop this in our jurisdiction,” DeLeonardo said. “People think, ‘What does Carroll County know?’ But we bring in people who have that experience, and Cara is that person."

The software can compile a large amount of data, and is helpful for proactive efforts to identify criminal networks, DeLeonardo said. Carroll was the third jurisdiction in Maryland to get this software after Baltimore and Anne Arundel.

That is part of what we are doing, moving jurisdiction toward more data-driven investigations," he said. For example, arresting one drug distributor in an area does not guarantee that another will not move in soon after. With more data-driven investigations, law enforcement and prosecutors can more easily ID the supplier’s supplier and so forth.

“It allows you to pull these networks out by the root. ... essentially go for the head of the snake. That is why we’re creating these cross-juridictional groupings," DeLeonardo said.

DeLeonardo chairs the Governor’s Council on Gangs and Violent Criminal Networks.

In addition to the state grant, the Carroll Board of County Commissioners committed funding as well. DeLeonardo expressed his gratitude to them.

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