Crime scene tape

ELKTON — Investigators raided a residence near Elkton and arrested four people, after confiscating more than 300 packets containing approximately three and a half ounces of suspect heroin mixed with fentanyl and an unknown tranquilizer that reportedly is popular among drug users in this area, according to Cecil County District Court records.

Maryland State Police detectives and members of Elkton Police Department’s Street Level Crimes Unit conducted a court-approved search of the residence in the unit block of Red Hill Road at approximately 8 p.m. on Tuesday, court records show.

Investigators seized a total of 312 packets containing suspect heroin/fentanyl and bearing a “Crunch Time” street brand stamp, as well as a small amount of suspect crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia, police reported.

Arrested at the scene of the raid without incident were Matthew E. Ward, 42, who resides at that Red Hill residence; Anthony T. Slaymaker, 29, of Lancaster, Pa.; Barbara C. Conlin, 30, of the 1300 block of Pebble Beach Drive near Elkton; and Ashley L. Backert, 30, of the 300 block of Hitching Post Road near Rising Sun, according to court records

Charging documents indicate that Backert is Ward’s girlfriend.

Ward told investigators that he has been selling heroin/fentanyl “for the past year or so” to maintain a supply for Backert and also to offset the cost of providing the drug for her, court records allege. Ward also maintained that he does not use heroin or fentanyl, according to charging documents.

The raiding law enforcement officers located Slaymaker and Conlin inside a bathroom, where, on the sink, investigators noticed syringes, a cooker cap containing suspect heroin/fentanyl and “two yellow wax folds” holding that same suspect drug, police reported.

Investigators found three blue ziplock baggies containing wax folds that held suspect heroin/fentanyl while searching Slaymaker, police said.

While searching Conlin, police added, investigators located five small, plastic containers, known as “trash cans,” holding suspect crack cocaine, in addition to seven baggies in which packets of suspect heroin/fentanyl were found.

Raiding officers located Ward and Backert in a rear bedroom, where investigators saw 30 loose ziplock bags containing suspect heroin/fentanyl on the bed, according to charging documents.

“Upon locating Backert, investigators observed blue ziplock bags containing yellow wax folds stamped ‘Crunch Time,’ containing suspected heroin/fentanyl mix, falling out of her sweatpants legs onto the floor, as she was attempting to secrete (discard) the items inside her pants,” court records allege.

Investigators then recovered nine baggies holding suspect heroin/fentanyl, police said. During a search of Backert by a female officer, police added, eight additional baggies containing suspect heroin/fentanyl were found and confiscated.

Also in that bedroom, investigators found 16 rubber-banded bundles — each holding 15 ziplock baggies containing suspect heroin/fentanyl — inside a red metal tool chest that had been locked, according to charging documents. In addition, investigators found 13 more baggies containing suspect heroin/fentanyl inside that tool box, court records allege.

“The 283 baggies recovered from the bedroom weighed 103.5 grams,” the lead investigator notes in his written statement of probable cause, addressing only the 30 baggies found on the bed and the 253 located inside the tool box — not that 17 that Backert allegedly possessed.

There are about 28 grams in one ounce.

That 103.5 grams listed by the lead investigator also doesn’t include the packets of suspect heroin/fentanyl that Conlin and Slaymaker allegedly possessed, nor the two yellow wax folds found on the bathroom sink.

Investigators transported the four suspects to MSP’s North East Barrack for processing after arresting them at the raid scene, police said. After reading Ward his Miranda rights, police added, investigators conducted a recorded interview with him.

“Ward admitted that he drove to Kensington, Pa., just prior to (the court-approved search at his residence) and had obtained the heroin/fentanyl mix. Ward described it as a mix of heroin, fentanyl and ‘tranq,’ stating that he was unsure what the tranquilizer was, but (that) it is what everybody wants. Ward stated that Backert is his girlfriend and he obtains the heroin/fentanyl mix for her and sells the rest to make up the cost of providing it for her. Ward stated he does not use heroin or fentanyl. Ward stated that he makes the trip to Kensington, Pa., one or two times per week and has done so for the past year or so,” court records allege.

Scheduled for a March 17 preliminary hearing, Ward is charged with possession of heroin/fentanyl with intent to distribute, which is a felony that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and possession of heroin/fentanyl, according to court records.

Ward remained in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond on Thursday, court records show.

Slaymaker also remained in the county jail without bond on Thursday. Although his status was listed as “release on personal recognizance” after investigators charged him with possession of heroin/fentanyl in connection with Tuesday’s raid, Slaymer was ordered to be held without bond on a Pennsylvania fugitive-from-justice charge, according to court records.

Backert and Conlin were released from custody on personal recognizance, court records show. Backert is charged with possession of heroin/fentanyl and is scheduled for an April 16 district court bench trial and Conlin, who also is scheduled for a bench trial on that date, is charged with possession of cocaine and possession of heroin/fentanyl, according to court records.

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