Raleigh Police Charge 42 Suspected Drug Dealers
Posted April 17, 2005 11:23 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — A special operation targeting small-time drug dealers in Raleigh produced big results this week.
The Raleigh Police Department rounded up 42 suspected drug dealers as part of a two-month investigation that focused on southeast Raleigh.
Most of the suspects have been charged with selling crack cocaine and marijuana, police said.
"The majority of the citizens are law abiding people who want our help," said Major Dennis Lane of the Raleigh Police Department.
Instead of going for the big pay-day drug bust, the police department focused on the corner crack-dealer. Detectives said it's really about more than drugs.
"Street robberies, larcenies -- all those crimes are connected to street-level dealers because people are going around committing these crimes to buy the cocaine or drug of their choice," Major Lane said.
At one convenience store in Raleigh, the parking lot is often the drug dealer's office, the store's owner said.
"I'm always having to call the police to drive them (drug dealers) out," said Hershed Patel, the storeowner.
Patel, who said the drug business is hurting his food business, agrees with the Raleigh Police Department's strategy of taking out street dealers.
"As a business man in the community, we don't see the big drug dealer because they are hiding business," Patel said.
But the owner of a pizza parlor in southeast Raleigh told WRAL-TV off-camera that drug dealers who get arrested are often back on the street within a few days of their arrests.
Patel also has seen it before.
"They come right back again as soon as the police go away," he said.
Raleigh police still plan to go after the big drug dealers in the area. But they said attacking the street-level drug trade is just as effective because it has an immediate impact, even if, as some people have said, it's short lived.