Police spoil holiday for suspected dealers

December 24, 1997|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

Baltimore police want to ruin Christmas for drug dealers.

Officers played the role of holiday spoiler yesterday in an operation dubbed "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," and arrested 12 of the 35 people they were looking for on cocaine and heroin charges.

"We wanted to ruin their holiday and bring relief to communities," said Col. John E. Gavrilis, chief of the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

The suspects being sought were given preset bails, which means they will bypass routine bail hearings and are more likely to be jailed until their trial. One suspect arrested while in his bed was dubbed the "million-dollar man" for the amount of his bail.

Another suspect kissed his wife goodbye and wished her a Merry Christmas before officers took him to jail, said Maj. Eugene pTC Yeager, head of the department's drug enforcement unit.

Undercover police began making buys in open-air drug markets last month, police said, as evidence against the 35 suspected of selling crack cocaine, cocaine and heroin. Most have a record of charges for violent crimes.

Fifteen of the 35 are from East Baltimore, and 20 are from the city's west side.

Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier said the timing of the sweep was intended to make the city safer for residents and "absolutely ruin it for those who seek to destroy our city."

Pub Date: 12/24/97

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