Local News

Operation Puts Bull's Eye on Gang, Drug Crimes

Posted December 13, 2007 12:56 a.m. EST

— A daylong operation by the Durham Police Department last week focused on catching suspects in drug- and gang-related crimes, as well as serving outstanding warrants.

The operation resulted in the arrest of at least 23 people on 89 separate charges, in addition to serving 40 outstanding warrants. Officers also issued 98 citations for motor-vehicle offenses.

Investigators identified suspects in two crimes: a break-in and several recent incidents of indecent exposure and at least one assault along the American Tobacco Trail. One adult was also arrested for taking indecent liberties with a minor.

"We were able to find out who has been naught and who has been nice during this holiday season," Police Chief Jose L. Lopez Sr. said. "These operations will continue to occur in the best interests of the city. We want to reach out to the community and let them know that their concerns are being heard and addressed."

Investigators from the Special Operations Division conducted buy-bust operations and arrested six people on 20 charges. Search warrants also resulted in 17 drug charges against six people. Investigators confiscated marijuana, powdered cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, Darvocet and cash.

Among those arrested on drug charges are Eugene Straiter, 36, of Spruce Street; Ronald Ambrister, 17, of Wake Place; Alonso Branch, 37, of Cheek Road; Jovontae Green, 17, of Craven Street; Torry McClary, 27, of Columbia Avenue; and Benjamin Smith, 38, in the areas of Fern Street and North Hyde Park Avenue, Canal Street, Lowry Street, Danube Lane and Old Oxford Highway, Columbia Avenue and South Roxboro Street and Cornwallis Road.

An inspection of M&M Mini Mart at 2128 Angier Ave. ended in two citations for violating a city ordinance prohibiting possession of drug stems with the intent to sell. Investigators discovered a handgun with the serial number scratched off at the Kwik Stop Food Mart, 1600 Holloway St., but found no problems at Buy Quick, 419 S. Briggs Ave.

Officers from the Community Services Bureau went to 30 shopping centers and restaurant districts throughout the city and handed out 2,000 flyers with holiday safety tips.