The Mobile Police Department executed a massive drug raid on Thursday afternoon, April 3, 2014. The raid, including arrests of 8 of 18 wanted suspects, was executed in the Maysville community.
Mobile Police say 8 other individuals were arrested during the raid.
“There are 18 individuals on 33 different sale cases that we have warrants on. So we are going in on two things: one is to search the areas which they were selling drugs from to obviously look for drugs or weapons or any records of drug sales. And the second, locations for the people involved in the drug activity,” said Chief James Barber.
More than 50 undercover officers, swat teams, and intelligence personnel raided six houses, among two other unoccupied structures.
Chief Barber has implemented a new method of policing during the first few months of his tenure as Chief of Police. ‘Hotspot’ policing, as described by officers, is one of targeting the individual suspects involved with criminal activity and putting an end to the crime, as opposed to blanket arrests.
Thursday’s operation was a culmination of intelligence work from the past two months.
Officers did not waste any time finding who was behind the drug sales, arresting them in front yards, inside homes, and on the streets. According to police, some even mother/son and mother/daughter teams.
Captain John Barber said this operation was not a drug operation. It was simply about finding those responsible for selling the drugs and putting them behind bars.
“We’ve realized this is an area with significant crime and a lot of that crime is related to drug activity and mainly street level drug activity. That’s what we saw today: executing search warrants. We got what we would see, typical – smaller amounts of marijuana. We got out of one house a pretty decent about of powder cocaine. Spice and also money going from anywhere from $700 to all the way to $1800 at various locations. Typical what we see at this level,” said Captain Barber.
Other items collected two iPhones, marijuana grinders, codeine syrup, two hand guns, a revolver and a single-barrel shotgun.
Before the operation went down, FOX10 News had an exclusive, raw, and behind-the-scenes opportunity to see exactly how officers gather the right information to make arrests.
In some areas, a sunny, spring day in the streets of Downtown Mobile has turned into one of buying selling illegal drugs. For the past few months, officers with the Mobile Police Department are cleaning it up.
“These actually pretty good citizens that live over here. That’s why they want to run these drug dealers from their community because they have young kids that are in these houses, they don’t want them to be a victim of it,” said an undercover officer. “This area where we are going in the Maysville/Wexford area – it’s constantly drug activity over here, I tell ya. We have multiple CIs that have purchased drugs from this area,” he said.
The police department uses a ‘CI,’ or confidential informant, to assist in collecting intel. Typically they ear cameras to gather evidence.
“They assume that someone is watching them pretty much. CI is then going to walk in on foot to the target location where he will attempt to make contact with the individual at that location,” said the undercover cop.
After a quick exchange, deals are made, and one more suspected drug dealer is closer to being arrested thanks to gathered information.
Officers tell FOX10 News these are well known drug locations and that some of these dealers do not even live in the area. They come there, knowing business will be made and then leave.
On FOX10 News at 5 on Friday, hear more about the raid and also from residents living in the area.
FOX10 News would like to thank the Mobile Police Department and Chief James Barber for allowing access to the undercover operation.