SARASOTA, Fla. – June 12, 2015 – 10 a.m.
At a news conference Friday morning, Sarasota Police Lieutenant James Rieser of the Criminal Investigation Division announced the arrest of 43 individuals in Operation Safe Neighborhood. The Operation was conducted using undercover detectives to make drug buys from suspected street level dealers in areas that intelligence-led policing proved to be highest in drug crimes.
Operation Safe Neighborhood was a six-month investigation conducted by the Sarasota Police Department Narcotics Unit. The purpose of the long-term operation was to target street level drug dealers within the City of Sarasota. The operation began in December 2014 and ended with an arrest roundup in May 2015.
As a result of the investigation, 43 individuals were arrested on narcotics sales charges. Charges include sale of rock cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school, church or park, sale of heroin, sale of a controlled substance and sale of spice/designer drugs. The charges of sale of rock cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school, church or park carries a three-year minimum/mandatory sentence. The 43 individuals arrested have a combined total of 316 felony convictions. The drug buys by undercover detectives were conducted in numerous areas of the City of Sarasota including:
• Seven (7) in the Gillespie Park area
• Fifteen (15) in the area of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way
• Thirteen (13) in the area of Central Avenue and Cocoanut Avenue
• Nine (9) in the North Tamiami Trail area to include the area around the 1100 block of 32rd Street
"This is the most people we’ve ever arrested in a street-level operation. This operation is one of many ways the Sarasota Police Department is combating drug sales and activity in our community," said (Continued)
Lieutenant James Rieser, Criminal Investigation Division. "The Sarasota Police Department is committed to making the residents and visitors of the City of Sarasota feel safe through our drug enforcement efforts. We will continue to investigate complaints and create proactive operations to reduce the flow of illegal narcotics into our community," continued Lt. Rieser.
The Sarasota Police Department Narcotics Unit has also targeted drug purchasers in the way of Street Reverse Operations and targeted mid to upper level drug dealers through other long term investigations such as Operation SRQ Cartel and Operation SRQ Cartel II.