Police arrest 17, seize weapons, drugs in raid in Southwest Baltimore

March 09, 1997|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

More than 200 city police officers swept through several streets in a raid on a Southwest Baltimore neighborhood Friday, arrested 17 people and seized heroin, suspected crack cocaine and weapons, police said.

Most of the arrests in what police dubbed "Operation Deliverance" occurred in the blocks just north of the West Side Shopping Center in Hollins Park, said Sgt. Fred Bealefeld of the Southwestern District's drug enforcement unit. He said the raid began about 7: 30 p.m.

"We called this Operation Deliverance because we were trying to give the neighborhood back to the people who live there," Bealefeld said.

The raid was the culmination of a two-month investigation that began in January. The operation was launched after a spate of shootings in the area.

A total of 295 arrests were made during the operation, and 54 weapons were recovered as well as illegal drugs.

"In the beginning of the year, we had nine shootings there," including one homicide, Bealefeld said. "People from outside the area were coming into the neighborhood to rob local drug dealers."

The surge of violence led to complaints by residents.

"We executed 16 search warrants [Friday] and recovered an ounce of cocaine, eight packages of heroin, 11 packages of marijuana and some illegal prescription drugs," Bealefeld said.

Also recovered were $8,563 in cash, two weapons -- a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun and a .22-caliber machine pistol -- and 38 bags of suspected crack cocaine. Each bag has a street value of $10, Bealefeld said.

Of the 17 people arrested, three were juveniles, Bealefeld said. The names of those arrested were not available yesterday.

The raid was the second in the city last week. Officers in the Northern District attempted to serve 90 outstanding arrest warrants Wednesday and Thursday and arrested 29 people.

Pub Date: 3/09/97

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