Taxi Drivers Busted for Making "Deals on Wheels"
Posted November 21, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — It's an undercover operation by the Raleigh Police Department with a catchy name and impressive results. Four taxicab drivers and five street dealers face a variety of drug trafficking charges. The arrests are a result of operation "Deals on Wheels."
Police started getting complaints from residents who said taxi drivers were selling drugs out of their cabs and bringing business to drug dealers. That sparked an undercover investigation that lasted two weeks. The results were released Friday.
Cabs scurry around Raleigh every day, delivering customers place to place. But Raleigh police say more and more cabs are taking a different kind of customer to a different kind of place, a drug deal. The problem is so bad, Raleigh police started an investigation called "Deals on Wheels" to stop drug dealing cab drivers.
Lt. J.H. Johnson says the officers went about their undercover business by calling cabs to pick them up. Then the officers would ask the drivers where to find drugs. It was in that matter that the officers found many of the dealer locations around Raleigh.
Four drivers were charged with drug-related felonies. They worked for four different Raleigh cab companies, and were all charged with taking customers to drugs.
Driver Samuel Okuok says it doesn't surprise him that other drivers are taking customers to buy drugs. Okuok says he won't do the same if a customer asks him openly. But being a cab driver, he knows the parts of the city known for drug deals. If a customer asks him to go there, he's obligated to take him.
Five drug dealers were also busted in this undercover investigation. Twelve other drivers were charged with misdemeanors for minor offenses. Raleigh Police say "Deals on Wheels" is not just a one-time thing. They plan to go undercover many more times in the future.