- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NEWARK, Del. (AP) - A multi-agency investigation in New Castle County has resulted in the arrests or indictments of more than 40 people on drugs and weapons charges, and racketeering charges against the two alleged ring leaders, authorities said Wednesday.

The investigation, which began in December 2013, involved a drug-trafficking network allegedly led by Andrew Lloyd, 31, and Jarrell Brown, 29, both of Newark.

Delaware State Police and Wilmington police joined forces to lead the combined operation after discovering that separate investigations were targeting the same suspects, officials said.

The investigation included the execution of 17 search warrants on Oct. 30 and Nov. 25 that netted about a pound of heroin and more than five pounds of marijuana, as well as various quantities of other drugs and $34,000 in cash.

Michael DellaCorte, special agent in charge with the Drug Enforcement Administration, said a total of about two kilograms of heroin was seized over the course of the investigation. He estimated that the ring at one point was selling $2 million of heroin on an annual basis.

Jennings said the success of the investigation can’t be measured simply on the quantity of drugs seized, and that it’s important to foster cooperation among various police agencies and send a message to other drug dealers in order to tackle the growing problem of drug-related violent crime in Delaware.

“What we’re after is the big picture, that’s why there are racketeering indictments,” she said.

Lloyd was indicted on 36 felonies, including racketeering, and is being held in lieu of $1.1 million cash bail. Brown is charged with 64 felonies, including racketeering, and is being held on $1.9 million cash bail. It was not immediately known whether the two men have lawyers. Overall, the investigation resulted in 330 charges against 44 people.

Deputy Attorney General Mark Denney said authorities have been able to tie the drug ring to some of the recent shootings in Wilmington, which “Newsweek” magazine dubbed “Murder Town USA” in an online article this week.

Mayor Dennis Williams, a former police officer who ran a tough-on-crime campaign in 2012 only to see gun violence worsen under his watch, has blasted the “Newsweek” article as inaccurate and misleading. Jennings had a different take, saying there was nothing in the article that “was not factually correct.”

“Delaware needs to hear the truth,” she said.

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