CECIL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) -- A law enforcement task force in Cecil County has seized $200,000 in drugs along with dozens of firearms over the past several months, authorities said Monday.
Officials said a number of major drug and gun busts in recent months have shown that the task force's work is paying off and helping to keep local communities safer from crime.
From July 2021 to January 2022, authorities have seized 76 illegal firearms, along with varying amounts of marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin, resulting in 20 arrests, Cecil County State's Attorney James Dellmyer said.
"This task force has worked proactively to address and prevent violent crimes by aggressively investigating and arresting and prosecuting those that commit gun violence," Dellmyer said.
Authorities said the work was made possible by a grant from the state. Gov. Larry Hogan's Office of Crime Prevention has put $18 million toward efforts to intercept drugs and guns statewide, a campaign credited with the disruption of dismantling of 1,400 criminal organizations.
"A comprehensive strategy as this only works if violent criminals are arrested and prosecuted and remain behind bars where they belong," said V. Glenn Fueston, a spokesperson for the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention.
Fueston on Monday presented State's Attorney Dellmyer with a governor's citation for the work in Cecil County.
Ghost guns remain a problem during criminal investigations as they often cannot be traced, since they are ordered in pieces and assembled by the buyer.
Authorities said when these guns are used to commit crimes, it can take valuable time and resources to track them down due to a lack of serial numbers.
Of the 76 guns seized over the past few months, authorities said many were used in crimes and 35% are considered ghost guns.
Dellmyer expressed hope that these guns and the criminal organizations they came from can lead to additional arrests down the road.
"This started with one operation, expanded to others," he said. "We dismantled two illegal gun manufacturing rings and many of the guns came from that operation."
But while Monday represented a step in the right direction, Dellmyer said the work is not yet done.
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