Drug Indictments Make Dent in Local Drug Trade

While the indictments of nearly100 people on Wednesday is bound to help take a bite out of local crime, authorities involved with what’s being called “Operation: Little D-Town” has effectively kept a large amount of drugs from ever reaching the streets.

The local agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration said the investigation led to the seizure of dozens of guns and drugs, in particular roughly 1.5 kilograms of heroin. Agents said the drug was more than 90 percent pure, which is perhaps 10 or 12 times as strong as what police say many users can buy on the streets and potentially worth more than $1 million when it’s sold.

“Typical street sales, unfortunately, for a drug abuser is often times only a gram or two. So if it was even cut to end up being 5 kilograms, I mean, doing the quick math, 5,000 to 50,000 dosage units released onto the streets. That’s a lot of heroin, no matter how you look at it,” said DEA Agent Bob Balzano.

Authorities said they made the seizure before the heroin could ever be packaged for sale.

Local authorities said the investigation would not have been possible unless state and federal agencies got involved. They said they turned to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms almost a year ago, looking for ways to push back against the city’s growing problem of drug-related crimes, many of them involving guns.

Warren Safety-Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said even though the city is relatively small and doesn’t have the funds to pay for large-scale operations on its own, it was able to bring in resources of outside agencies  like the DEA and the ATF. But he also said while residents want their streets to be safe, operations like this can’t be accomplished quickly.

“I understand and appreciate the frustrations, the concern, the fears that the citizenry has had, but unfortunately, to have the kind of dramatic things that happened today, it takes time,” Cantalamessa said.

And while the case focused on disrupting the sales of guns and drugs,  prosecutors said because many of those caught up in the sweep have prior records, the crimes they face now could bring prison time of between 10 and 30 years each.

“Some of these people, we’ll never see again. I mean, they’re gonna be in a federal prison until I’m, old and fishing somewhere in the Keys,” said Warren Police Chief Tim Bowers.

Authorities said “Operation: Little D-Town” won’t eradicate Warren’s gun and drug problems, so they know their work isn’t finished.

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