The majority of the charges are for selling crack cocaine and marijuana, police said in a statement.
The investigation started in February and arrests began on April 6, as search warrants and arrest warrants were served, police said.
Thirty of the 42 suspects charged as a result of the investigation were arrested by Thursday afternoon. Charges were also brought against eight other suspects during the roundup process.
"The department varies its drug enforcement strategies," Lieutenant A.C. Davis, commander of the detective division's drugs squads, said in a press release. "This time we concentrated on street level dealers. What they do really reduces the quality of life in neighborhoods, and their drug trade is a magnet to other crime."
Davis said robberies, larcenies and prostitution frequently take place in drug areas, and they often occur because drug users commit such crimes to buy drugs.
The undercover investigation leading to the recent arrests drew from criminal intelligence gathered by officers and detectives, along with community input about drug problem areas.
During the roundup, the Raleigh Police Department received assistance from a N.C. Highway Patrol helicopter. Police said the aerial support was valuable when search warrants were being served and some suspects attempted to flee or hide.
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