Officers from the Oakland Police Department and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration arrested 51 people today on felony charges of selling narcotics in the culmination of an eight-month investigation, according to police spokesman Jeff Thomason.The investigation began in April and involved undercover police officers buying narcotics from drug dealers but waiting until now to make arrests. An Alameda County grand jury recently indicted 101 people for narcotic sales violations and warrants were issued for all the suspects, according to Thomason. Officers will try to arrest the remaining 50 suspects in the next few days, he said. About 120 officers participated in the drug sweep, which mainly was carried out in the Elmhurst district in East Oakland, Thomason said. Thomason said that in addition to the 51 people who were arrested
on narcotics warrants, officers also arrested 30 other people in unrelated cases involving possession of narcotics, possession of a firearm, probation and parole violations and other charged. Officers recovered four handguns, $2,000 in cash and small amounts of marijuana and cocaine, he said. Thomason said the drug sweep is part of new Police Chief Anthony Batts’ focus on cracking down on guns, drugs and gangs. The people arrested on warrants today generally are low- and mid-level drug dealers, he said. Thomason said police hope that the arrests will have “a significant impact on the drug economy in East Oakland.” He said police also hope the arrests will reduce the number of shootings in Oakland because a lot of violent activity, such as disputes over territory, is connected to the business of selling drugs.