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Taxi Drivers Busted for Making "Deals on Wheels"

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RALEIGH — It's an undercover operation by the Raleigh Police Department with a catchyname and impressive results. Four taxicab drivers and five street dealersface a variety of drug trafficking charges. The arrests are a result ofoperation "Deals on Wheels."

Police started getting complaints from residents who said taxi driverswere selling drugs out of their cabs and bringing business to drugdealers. 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 ofcustomer to a different kind of place, a drug deal. The problem is sobad, Raleigh police started an investigation called "Deals on Wheels" tostop drug dealing cab drivers.

Lt. J.H. Johnson says the officers went about their undercover business bycalling cabs to pick them up. Then the officers would ask the driverswhere to find drugs. It was in that matter that the officers found manyof the dealer locations around Raleigh.

Four drivers were charged with drug-related felonies. They worked forfour different Raleigh cab companies, and were all charged with takingcustomers to drugs.

Driver Samuel Okuok says it doesn't surprise him that other drivers aretaking customers to buy drugs. Okuok says he won't do the same if acustomer asks him openly. But being a cab driver, he knows the parts ofthe city known for drug deals. If a customer asks him to go there, he'sobligated 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. Theyplan to go undercover many more times in the future.

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