A massive undercover drug sting across downtown San Diego came to a head Friday as police worked to arrest 74 accused street-level drug dealers.
San Diego Police officers have taken 29 people into custody as of Friday afternoon in a detail dubbed “Operation November Reign.”
Over the past six weeks, undercover officers purchased a wide range of controlled substances from local street dealers in areas most impacted by narcotics activity, according to the SDPD. Generally, the amounts purchased were small, from dealers operating independently from one another, according to officials.
It started in response to complaints from residents and businesses about blatant drug sales and use in the Gaslamp District, Core-Columbia, Sherman Heights, Golden Hill and the East Village areas of downtown.
"Acts of violence between these dealers over control of the drug trade combined with criminal street gang influence created a dangerous environment for the entire community," said SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman.
The SDPD worked with the District Attorney’s Office to secure arrest warrants for suspected drug dealers and facilitators operating in downtown neighborhoods.
The DA’s office presented the cases to a grand jury, which issued the indictment and 74 arrest warrants.
"Handling these cases through the grand jury saves taxpayer dollars and saves the court system a tremendous amount of time and money," said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
Of those named in the indictment, six are already on parole, and another eight are on probation under the state's AB 109 prison de-population mandate. All suspects range in age from 23 to 62 years old, and all have been charged with selling a variety of illegal drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.
The suspected drug dealers' clients range from downtown residents to transients, students and tourists, according to authorities.