Harford County law enforcement officials have focused much of their attention in recent years on the deadly plague of heroin addiction, which has affected Harford and communities throughout Maryland, but they also keeping one eye on methamphetamine, especially with the recent arrests of people in possession of the highly-addictive stimulant.
"It's something that we do monitor and try to track that kind of intelligence," Capt. Lee Dunbar, head of the Harford County Task Force, said Monday.
Dunbar stressed that "it's too early to tell" if meth could become as big of a problem as heroin. Meth, which is composed of volatile chemicals found in over-the-counter medications and can be made in makeshift labs in a person's home, has ravaged communities in the Midwest and on the West Coast. The drug can be homemade in the U.S., but it is also distributed by international drug-trafficking organizations.
Brittany Nicole Rose, 21, and David Michael Boemmel, 27, both of Joppa, were arrested last week at their residence in the 1100 block of Plaza Circle and charged with importing 55 grams of meth from China into Maryland.
Maryland State Police Senior Trooper J. Stevens, who is assigned to the task force, observed the package arrive at the residence, according to charging documents. Rose accepted the package, and then Boemmel, who was sitting outside the residence in a pickup truck, went inside.
Members of the Harford County Sheriff's Office Special Response Team entered the home and recovered the package, despite Boemmel's effort to flush the meth down a toilet, according to charging documents. Investigators determined at the scene that the drug was meth, based on a field test, and that the package came from China.
Boemmel has been charged with importing drugs into the state, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, drug possession and altering physical evidence during a criminal proceeding. He is being held in the Harford County Detention Center in Bel Air on no bail after a bail review hearing Thursday, according to online court records.
Rose has been charged with importing drugs into the state, possession of drugs with intent to distribute and drug possession, according to online court records. She appeared for her bail review hearing in District Court last Friday via video link from the jail.
She had been held on $50,000 bail after she was arrested Wednesday, but District Court Judge Mimi Cooper ordered during the hearing Friday that she be held without bail.
Cooper said Rose is "an extreme risk to the community" when considering the charges against the defendant.
Joel Muneses, the assistant state's attorney, told the judge about the delivery of meth to Rose's residence. Cooper herself noted the drugs were coming from China.
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Cooper, who checked Rose's prior criminal record, noted Rose also has a pending theft case in Baltimore County. Rose is scheduled to appear in the District Court in Towson for trial Jan. 30, 2017 on one count of theft less than $1,000, according to court records.
Rose's public defender, Andrew Geraghty, acknowledged she is on unsupervised probation for leaving the scene of an accident. Court records indicate she was given probation before judgment by a Baltimore County judge Sept. 8 on one count of failing to stop after an accident involving damage to a vehicle.
Geraghty said his client lives with her mother, and she is a high school graduate with two years of college. He asked Cooper to reduce Rose's bail, noting neither she nor her family could afford the initial $50,000 bail.
"She's effectively being held without bail," Geraghty said.
The judge denied his request, though, and ordered Rose remain in jail on no bail.
Dunbar, the task force commander, noted a Sheriff's Office patrol deputy seized meth during a traffic stop in Whiteford on Nov. 25. That seizure is not related to the Joppa case.
"It's always a possibility, especially when you make an arrest like that," Dunbar said of meth becoming a problem in the county.