Suspected drug dealers arrested in Western Addition

A massive police sweep of Western Addition suspected crack dealers in the early hours of Tuesday morning resulted in the initial arrest of 14 people.

The San Francisco Police Department expects to pick up the remainder of the targeted suspects — as many as 10 — today and tomorrow.

“These [raids] are targeting the areas in The City that have been subject to a spike in violence. There’s always a clear nexus between street violence, such as shootings and homicides, and the sale of narcotics,” Deputy Chief Morris Tabac said.

Many of the targets of Tuesday’s raid are repeat offenders wanted for violent crimes as well as drug offenses, according to Tabac.

“Most or all of these arrests dealt with sale of crack,” he said. “We’re not talking marijuana here.”

Tabac stressed that the sale of crack on the street level is a major contributing factor to gang-related homicides. In 2004 and 2005, The City broke decade-old homicide records, as gang-related homicides spiked.

“It’s irrefutable that there’s a connection betweenhigh-level drug sales and violent crime. It’s also irrefutable that there are certain neighborhoods that are being victimized and are fed up with the crime. All of that combined created a priority with us,” District Attorney Kamala Harris said.

Police Department officials would not say how many officers participated in the sweep, but they said department personnel from the narcotics division, the gang task force and the Northern station participated in the action, as well as Federal Drug Enforcement Agency personnel.

Police spent over two months gathering evidence in preparation for Tuesday’s raid, Tabac said. They secretly videotaped street-level sales of crack cocaine to undercover officers, then used that evidence to gain arrest warrants.

Harris said she has confidence in the evidence collected during the investigation. “I can tell you that we would not have filed the warrants if we did not think the evidence supports the warrant,” she said. Harris also expects to win convictions on the strength of that evidence.

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