News Release
May 18, 2006

Seattle Police and DEA Announce Results of Open-Air Drug Market Busts

DEA Agents and Seattle Police Officers arrest a crack dealer near the famed Pikes Place Market in downtown Seattle.
DEA Agents and Seattle Police Officers arrest a crack dealer near the famed Pikes Place Market in downtown Seattle.

MAY 18 -- SEATTLE – Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske and DEA Special Agent in Charge Rodney G. Benson announced today the results of a collaborative effort to crack down on open-air drug markets in Seattle. Detectives from both the Seattle Police Department’s Narcotics Unit and Precinct Anti-Crime Teams worked together with Federal Drug Enforcement Agents from the Mobile Enforcement Team to target drug dealers in downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill. The Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) was created by DEA in early 1995 as a response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crime that plagues neighborhoods and communities throughout the United States. Seattle Police precinct commanders identified drug trafficking locations by reviewing neighborhood complaints.

"We want the public to know we have heard their complaints and followed through with a strong and combined enforcement effort at the local and federal level," said Chief Kerlikowske.

As a result of this intensive and sustained effort, which began in September of 2005, four hundred and three suspects were arrested, including fourteen juveniles. Fourteen firearms and twenty-one vehicles were seized during the operation. Additionally, 1,729 grams of cocaine with a street value of $172,900.00 and 1,596 grams of heroin with a street value of $239,000.00 were recovered as well as a total of $65,000.00 in currency.

"Since the Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) concept was launched 11 years ago, DEA has deployed MET teams throughout the United States on almost 500 occasions. By pooling the resources of DEA and the Seattle Police Department, this particular deployment has resulted in the largest number of drug arrests of any MET deployment. This incredible effort is sure to make our community a safer place to live and work," said Special Agent in Charge Benson.

"The diligent and professional work of the law enforcement officers assigned to this operation made it possible for the King County Prosecutor’s office to file scores of cases to date. I’m confident that the focus of this operation will have an impact on reducing open air drug dealing in our city," said King County Deputy Prosecutor Erin Becker.


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