Seven people were arrested today during a narcotics sting in the Campgrounds/Bottoms area near MLK Dr. in Mobile.

"We over the last couple of months sent officers out with confidential informants to attempt to make narcotics buys, so we have distribution cases on at least 15 different individuals," said Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste.

It's an operation MPD is calling "Operation Deja Vu." Chief Battiste said it's because they've visited the area in attempts to clean it up before.

FOX 10 News exclusively went along with detectives to what police say is a crime and drug-infested area and they hope Thursday's sting will help clean it up.

"Us coming today didn't have as much to do with us finding drugs as much as it did with taking those individuals into custody," Battiste explained.

Our first stop was at a home on Lola Street. Chief Battiste said at least 3 drug transactions with undercover officers took place at the home over the past few months.

After a thorough search through the home, no one was found there. However, because so much alleged drug activity had taken place there, police have a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) on it.

The home was boarded up and a judge will determine what further actions will be taken. Police said the goal is to go to court and file a forfeiture on the property.

Down the street at the same time, another warrant was served. Detectives arrested the subject and found two guns at his home.

"Reporter: Anything you wanna say, man?

Subject: 'I messed up'

Reporter: 'You messed up how'

Subject: 'They say I sold an undercover officer some drugs.'

Reporter: 'Did you actually sell an undercover officer some drugs?'

Subject: 'I'm not no drug dealer so I might have or might not.'

Reporter: 'Well you said you messed up so...'

Subject: 'Well evidently. They got my picture and stuff so I must've did'."

Another warrant was executed right around the corner in phase 2 of the sting. That led to two arrests.

"They know that what they're doing is causing health problems in our community. They're adding to the issue that deals with poverty and getting people addicted to drugs," Chief Battiste said.

At the same time, one more warrant was being served while we were there. Police say this was probably the biggest of the day and most unexpected. Investigators said instead of a street drug dealer, they believe this subject was a mid-level dealer.

His cocaine hadn't been cut or cracked. Major John Barber with MPD said it's the kind that's usually sold to street-level dealers.

"If you were to sell that one ounce on the street its about 1200 dollars," Barber said.

A large rifle was also found. There was a quick check of the serial number, but the gun hadn't been reported stolen. Nevertheless, police said it was a dangerous weapon.

"It was loaded out, a 30 round magazine. these are the kind of guns that not only scare the police but also the ones that terrorize the community. When you fire that weapon it will reach out for quite a distance. So we're glad to take that off the streets."

Police said they will release the photos and names of those who weren't arrested in hopes the community can lend a hand in finding them.

All content © 2019, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.


Toi Thornton is a Reporter. His Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism comes from Dillard University in 2014 and his Master's degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University in 2016. He previously worked as the Fox anchor in Lafayette, LA.

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