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October 21, 2011 at 11:23 AM

White Center sweep nets drugs, 68 guns, 53 arrests

Local and federal law enforcement officials were on hand this morning to announce the results of a three-month undercover operating that targeted drug dealing and illegal gun sales in White Center.(Photo by Courtney Blethen Riffkin / The Seattle Times)

A three-month undercover operation in the White Center area yielded dozens of arrests and the seizure of 68 guns, 51 pounds of methamphetamine, two pounds of crack cocaine and more than 10 pounds of powder cocaine, U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said this morning during a news conference.

Twenty-six defendants have been charged federally and another 27 face charges in King County Superior Court.  Three federal defendants are still being sought, Durkan said.

“This neighborhood will not be a safe haven for criminals. It belongs to the families and people who live in White Center,” Durkan said.

The operation focused on illegal gun sales and drug dealing on the street as well as in area businesses, according to a news release. Undercover agents purchased numerous firearms from felons who were prohibited from possessing guns, Durkan said. In other instances they purchased guns from defendants who were also dealing drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine.

Four businesses were targeted after evidence was uncovered concerning drug dealing and promoting prostitution on the premises.

The investigation was a joint effort by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, King County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security, Seattle Police Department, King County Metro Transit Police, state Department of Corrections, state Liquor Control Board and the Eastside Narcotics Task Force.

“This has been an extraordinary effort by federal and local law enforcement to root out some of the major sources of crime and violence in the White Center community,” said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.  “For a single operation to uncover this many offenders involved in the illegal sale of guns and drugs is truly remarkable.  My office is delighted to partner with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute some of the people who have had such a negative impact on this neighborhood.”

Times staff reporter Mike Carter will post a full story on the raids and this morning’s news conference later today.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: drugs, felons, U.S. Attorney's Office

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