Durham police charge 21 in push against drug dealing

From staff reportsOctober 21, 2013 

— Police said Monday they had arrested 13 people and were looking for eight others after an operation intended to break up street-level drug dealing in the city.

Most of the charges involved cocaine, three involved heroin and two involved marijuana, according to a police statement.

Police, working with the Durham County District Attorney’s office, said they also had called in seven other people who were considered non-violent and told them that police and the DA would not pursue charges against them from the drug sweep if they are not charged with any felonies or serious misdemeanors in the next year.

“The undercover operation targeted street-level drug dealers and drug houses,” police said in announcing the arrests.

Charges against all 21 included possession of drugs with intent to sell or deliver them. There also were numerous counts of selling drugs, delivering them, maintaining homes or cars as places to keep and sell drugs and, in a few cases, charges of being habitual felons.

Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said officers had spent three months identifying suspects and gathering evidence to justify arrest warrants.

The seven people who weren’t arrested were told where they could get help with drug addiction, lack of education and unemployment, Michael said.

“We realize that some people make poor choices, but have not shown a substantial pattern of criminal activity. This organization sees value in offering them the opportunity to make a life change and avoid a felony charge that could impact their future,” Deputy Chief Larry C. Smith said in the announcement.

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