Drug busters converge on Bremerton

Police gave drug dealers a swift kick recently — and say they’ve put a sizable dent in the drug and crime rates in the city.

The Bremerton Police Department’s “Special Operations Group” for drugs; the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Silverdale; and the Seattle field office of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) joined forces for the kick, said BPD Chief Rob Forbes at a press conference Tuesday.

The special cooperative investigation was kept secret, involved 15 undercover agents and countless support staff, and lasted four months — between October and February. There were 10 search warrants which netted 46 arrests on charges ranging from delivery and possession of methamphetamine, heroin and crack cocaine to firearms violations.

About 3.9 pounds of meth, 8.5 pounds of marijuana, 16 ounces of heroin, 8.5 ounces of crack and powder cocaine, 10 firearms (including one automatic assault rifle), eight vehicles, and $13,345 were confiscated. A small amount of the popular new drug “ecstasy” was discovered.

The investigation started out with a basic assumption, said Capt. Craig Rogers of the BPD:

“Meth is involved in just about any crime we investigate, whether that crime is the relatively minor theft of stereos from parked cars, to car theft, burglaries, assaults and shootings,” Rogers said.

Both violent and non-violent crimes seemed driven by meth — and, as was discovered by the cooperative task force, many other drugs as well. There was also a crack cocaine house on Snyder Avenue in Bremerton. This was terminated, said officials.

Forbes described the operation as “a great start” and said the DEA will stay involved, as will the Navy, in continuing investigations based on the operation.

John Bott, special agent in charge of the DEA’s Seattle Field Division, said such massive hits by multiple law enforcement agencies often result in dramatic drops in crime.

He said he didn’t have the specifics on the overall cost of the operation — it may have cost about $50,000 — but added that cost was not as important as results.

Bremerton has been plagued by car prowls and petty thefts by small-time criminals looking for merchandise to sell or pawn to buy drugs. But the BPD, Navy and DEA were after the Big Boys — the dealers.

“The criminal element know who’s after them,” Rogers said. “We recently found spray painted on a wall “SOG 187.” Of course SOG refers to our Special Operations Group focused on drugs, and “187” is police code for “murder.”

Bott stressed no one had been injured in the investigations and arrests — neither officers nor perpetrators.

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