More than 30 suspected drug dealers and gang members were arrested this week following a months-long undercover operation run by Seattle police and the King County Sheriff’s Office in the area around Westlake Mall, according to law enforcement officials.
Seattle police said the investigation, dubbed “Operation Happy Holidays,” was initiated after receiving numerous reports of drug-dealing and gang activity near the Third Avenue corridor. During the sting, police purchased crack cocaine, powder cocaine, pills, and marijuana in the downtown core and developed cases against 40 people, according to police.
“We were specifically targeting gang members and dealers in this operation,” says SPD Gang Unit Sgt. Steve Jandoc, “we didn’t go after addicts.”
Police said the months long investigation resulted in the recovery of a handgun and evidence of crack cocaine manufacturing at a Georgetown motel. They say it was complicated by savvy street dealers..
“Dealers will sell marijuana,” Jandoc said in a news release, “but they like to get to know their customers before they’ll sell other drugs.”
The operation was led by Seattle police and the King County Sheriff’s Office. Other partners included the state Department of Corrections, King County Prosecutor’s Office, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“This operation was about helping downtown businesses and their customers as well as Metro Employees and transit riders downtown,” said sheriff’s Sgt Thomas Flanagan.