COMMENTARY: Before the Cecil County Sheriff's Office ever made an official announcement, the secret that many never knew about the victim was summed up in one Twitter post by a friend – "F**king with them drugs will get you killed." It is the tragic byproduct of Cecil County's thriving drug trade. With drug dealing comes drug violence.
In the wake of the homicide of Kenneth Lee Curry in a botched home invasion robbery to steal his drug stash and money, many friends came forward on Facebook and Twitter to talk about how kind Curry was. How good of a friend he was. Some even took the chance to use the tragedy as a means to talk about gun control and how, if Curry had owned a gun, this incident could have been avoided.
Cecil Scene avoided jumping into the fray. We could see where this tragedy was heading. There were many cries of how Curry was too young to die as they lamented the death of former high school athlete. The fact remained, and we hoped we were wrong, that most home invasions are in some way connected to the drug trade.
With the announcement by the Cecil County Sheriff's Office today that four individuals are already charged with the homicide and a fifth is pending charges upon his release from the hospital, our suspicions were confirmed. The plan was chilling in its simplicity. One suspect goes in to see if the victim has drugs. The rest rush the house as the scout exits. All five leave with a nice stash of heroin and marijuana and, hopefully, a bundle of cash.
What Tabitha C. Nelson (white female, 23 years of age, 100 block of Hollis Circle Elkton,Maryland), William L. Dodson (21 years of age, 8800 block of Pennsbury Place, Rosedale, Maryland), Angela L. Williams (22 years of age, 100 block of Harmony Chapel Road, Conowingo, Maryland), Devon T. Ellwood (18 years of age, 200 block of Mackall Street, Elkton, Maryland) and Justin Leander Jones (25 years of age, unit block of Post Road, Aberdeen, Maryland) didn't count on was Curry fighting back.
In the end, Curry wrestled the gun from Jones and shot him. Ellwood then shot and killed Curry. Six lives ruined. But, the incident points to a much bigger issue. On the same day as the homicide, the Cecil County Sheriff's Office put out a press release detailing other drug-involved home invasions in Cecil County.
So what is the next step? Millions of dollars of funding are headed to Cecil County with the goal of addressing the overwhelming number of drug overdose deaths in the county. Cecil is perennially #2, with a couple of years ranking #1, ahead of even Baltimore City.
The plan, headed by new Cecil County Drug Czar Ken Collins, was presented last month at a community forum. At the time there was no mention of law enforcement. What isn't addressed in the plan is how the gap between drug addict and drug dealer will be bridged.
If Collins thinks this new plan will just be able to talk sense into addicts and they will willingly come walking in for treatment, he is sadly mistaken. As long as the Kennth Curry's of the county are allowed to flourish, unaddressed by law enforcement, the addicts will be there. Even if Collins is successful, the addicts will find a way to Cecil County to purchase their drugs.
No one is addressing enforcement. Curry had no criminal record and was an outstanding high school athlete. Is anyone going to address the set of circumstances that fell into place to allow the transformation of Curry from athlete to drug dealer? He was on no one's radar. Well, at least not the radar for police. Clearly some people knew, and they were the ones out there giving unofficial accounts on the internet before law enforcement even knew what happened.
If someone in Cecil County doesn't get a clue, doesn't modify this new drug plan to include enforcement, there will be many more Kennth Currys. He is only the tip of the iceberg. And he isn't a bad guy, just ask his friends. Something happened, though, to make the alternative of dealing drugs seem more attractive than anything else. Now might be a good time ot ask those questions.