Massive drug sweep in Oakland

December 21, 2009 8:00:24 PM PST
Local police are teaming up with federal agents to take dozens of small time dealers off the street. It's happening as new FBI figures show crime is on the decline in Oakland.

Violent crime is down almost 13 percent and property crime is down about 8 percent.

Police had warrants to arrest 100 drug dealers in Oakland, and they caught 42 of them. During the course of the sweep on Monday, they also arrested 30 additional suspects for things like drugs and gun violations. Authorities also said that the streets are now safer because of these arrests.

Authorities call them the 'small time dealers' -- the ones who make $10 to $25 dollar drug deals selling crack cocaine and marijuana on Oakland's streets.

But as they were being hauled off, most denied the allegation.

"They said I have a warrant, I don't know why," said Nearl Jeffery.

Delvin Jackson was asked specifically if he deals drugs.

"To me, this is just a probation warrant," he said.

Beginning at 7 a.m., teams of federal and local agents swarmed East Oakland's Flatlands, focusing on neighborhoods hardest hit by drug crimes.

It is a mission eight months in the making and it began with undercover officers buying narcotics from suspects.

"We recovered over 12 lbs of cocaine, two lbs of methamphetamine, two lbs of marijuana and seven firearms," said Lt. Michael Poirier from Oakland Police Department.

The officers then went back out armed with 100 felony arrest warrants.

"I've asked the Oakland PD to focus on drugs, guns and gangs in order to save lives," said Chief Anthony Batts from Oakland Police Department.

But police concede it is difficult to keep on top of the repeat offenders, as 65 percent of the wanted suspects are already on probation or parole.

Authorities say Jeffery was just released from jail a few days ago for drug charges. Like many others, he was back out just as fast as he went in.

He says he's not a drug dealer.

"I probably got busted over being foolish but I am not that crazy, I don't sell drugs," said Jeffery.

In addition to the more than 70 suspects arrested on Monday, police say they also collected four guns and $2,000 in cash. They plan to continue carrying out these search warrants to catch the rest of these accused drug dealers through the night and on Tuesday.


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