City officers arrest 39 in East Baltimore drug operation

December 24, 1997|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,SUN STAFF

Acting on residents' complaints about heavy narcotics activity, city and Housing Authority police officers posed as drug dealers at an East Baltimore intersection yesterday afternoon and arrested 39 suspected buyers, police said.

Sgt. David H. Childs, head of the Police Department's Eastern District drug enforcement unit, said 27 men and 12 women -- most from East Baltimore and a few from Essex, Dundalk and Middle River in eastern Baltimore County -- were each charged with drug offenses and were being held at the Central Booking and Intake Center downtown pending bail hearings.

During "Operation New Kid on the Block," authorities seized 17 gelatin capsules of suspected heroin, six plastic vials of suspected cocaine and more than $400, Childs said.

Childs said no cars were seized because the buyers who arrived in vehicles parked them legally and approached the undercover officers on foot.

During past similar operations, police seized scores of cars after stopping suspects as they drove away after purchasing narcotics.

Childs said at least one officer stood on each corner at North Milton Avenue and East Preston Street between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Using jargon familiar to the drug trade, officers directed unsuspecting buyers to another "dealer," who stood at the front of a nearby alley.

That "dealer" ushered buyers into the alley, where a "take-down team" of officers arrested them and put them in patrol wagons for the trip to Central Booking.

Pub Date: 12/24/97

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