In a three-month undercover operation in Baltimore County, 12 Carroll residents have been charged with possession of cocaine and seven others have been arrested under a new drug law.
Officers began watching the Watermill Apartments, in the 10000 block of Reisterstown Road, in April after complaints about drug trafficking, said Baltimore County police spokesman Stephen R. Doarnberger.
He said the use of undercover narcotics officers acting as drug buyers led to 25 arrests for possession of crack cocaine.
Undercover police noted license tag numbers of drug buyers, then relayed that information to officers outside the apartment complex, who stopped the cars, searched them and made the arrests.
All of the arrests were for small quantities of cocaine, Doarnberger said.
Twelve of 17 suspects arrested between June 27 and July 19 were from Carroll County, Doarnberger said.
Police returned to the apartment complex Friday to try to arrest the dealers, he said.
Six of 12 people indicted on drug distribution charges have been arrested, but none of those were from Carroll.
"In a second part of Friday's operation, we took advantage of a new law that took effect July 1 that says it's illegal to possess a non-controlled substance if you believe it to be a controlled dangerous substance," he said.
Undercover officers posingas drug dealers sold imitation crack cocaine to buyers, arresting 34suspects who thought they were buying real cocaine. A team of 60 officers arrested buyers and charged them under the new law, Doarnbergersaid.
The 12 Carroll residents charged with possession of cocaineeither have been released on bail or on their own recognizance. Theywill be tried in Owings Mills District Court, Doarnberger said.
The penalty for possession of cocaine, a misdemeanor, is a maximum of four years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
Those charged under the newlaw, also a misdemeanor, may be sentenced to a maximum $500 fine andone year in prison.
Charged with possession were:
* Russell M.Wilson, 36, and Joanne Tucker, 29, of the 3000 block of Old Westminster Pike, Finksburg; arrested July 18.
* Byron Joseph Owings, 29, of the 1500 block of Old Westminster Pike, Finksburg; arrested July 18.
* Lynn Allen Diffenbaucher, 28, and Craig Edward Looney, 29, ofthe 100 block East Main Street, Westminster; arrested July 12.
* Douglas Wade Smith, 24, of the 3800 of block Bishop's Church Road, Westminster; arrested June 28.
* Larry Wayne Whittaker, 37, of the 1600 block of Liberty Road, Eldersburg; arrested July 12.
* Irvin Dallas Sims, 42, unit block of Pennsylvania Avenue, Westminster; arrested June 27.
* Andre Bruce Mills, 34, of the unit block of Church Street, Westminster; arrested June 27.
* Rayan Edward Thomas, 35, of the unit block of Schaeffer Avenue, Westminster; arrested June 27.
* William Dwight Brown, 35, of the unit block of Union Street, Westminster; arrested June 27.
* Brett Allan Welsh, 33, of the 4100 block of Stumptown Road, Taneytown; arrested July 19.
Arrested Friday under the new law were:
* Eric Neal Vaughn, 19, of the 500 block of Houcksville Road, Hampstead.
* David Allen Weinhold, 27, andBrian Keith Faulkner, 28, of the unit block of East Main Street, Westminster.
* David Ronald Moore, 22, of the 2300 block of HampsteadMexico Road, Westminster.
* Raymond Lee Snead, 24, of the 1000 block of Washington Road, Westminster.
* John Hammond, 44, of the 700 block of Quaker Hill Road, Westminster.
* Keith Christopher Keller, 32, of the 4900 block of Walnut Grove Road, Taneytown.