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15 arrests, 92 citations during west side police raid

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit — Police made 15 arrests Tuesday — on nine felony charges and six misdemeanors — during the department’s crime sweep targeting individuals with outstanding warrants.

The “River Walk 2” also resulted in police seizing one illegal handgun, 2.2 grams of suspected cocaine, 331 grams of suspected marijuana and more than $1,311. Officers issued 92 citations and impounded seven vehicles.

Tuesday’s sweep was a uniformed, zero-tolerance initiative in the department’s Second and Eighth precincts.

“We will continue to strive for an environment which will allow residents to safely reside within their neighborhoods without the fear of crime,” police said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier in the day police raided a suspected drug house on the city’s west side as part of the crime sweep.

“We hit the location and, unfortunately, it appears the suspects got out before we got in,” Chief James Craig said shortly after the raid on a home at Oakfield and Fargo, near the Southfield Freeway and Eight Mile.

Police watching the home before the raid saw a vehicle parked outside, Craig said.

“We don’t know if the location was tipped off, but certainly there is some evidence of narcotics inside the location right now.”

Officers discovered cocaine, marijuana and pills inside the home, as well as a handgun, Craig said.

A large pit bull loose inside the home was killed by Special Response Team members during the raid.

“(The dog) became aggressive during their entry and they fired two shots, striking the pit bull,” Craig said.

Craig credited the communities for helping police identify suspects.

“They certainly report to us what activities are going on in the neighborhoods,” he said. “We then conduct an investigation, which will lead to us getting a warrant on that house.”

But Craig said neighborhoods also can work against police efforts.

“Sometimes when we’re doing this, people are watching us come into a neighborhood and phone calls are made, to be candid,” he said. “But we’ll continue our work.”

“River Walk 2” is the 17th Operation: Restore Order raid conducted by the Detroit Police Department and was launched in response to a recent increase in violent crimes in the area, Craig said.

More than 200 officers, including many who are undercover, began at 7 a.m. Tuesday, serving warrants and arresting individuals suspected of crimes ranging from homicides and narcotics activity to robbery and carjacking.

“We’re not talking about misdemeanor theft suspects,” Craig said before the raid on the home at Oakfield and Fargo. “We’re talking about people engaging in violent crime.”

Officers also conducted license inspections on local businesses, according to a press release Tuesday afternoon. Detroit police were supported by various units within the department and members of partnering agencies.

“We have made a vow to the citizens and visitors of the city of Detroit that we will clean up our neighborhoods through ethical and constitutional policing tactics,” Craig said in the release. “Our ultimate goal is to eliminate the criminal element, which has been afflicting our community for far too long, and reduce the overall fear of crime within our community.”

Craig said following the drug raid on the west side that he is confident in his officers’ ability to correctly conduct the raids, despite a recent investigation into a Detroit police narcotics unit.

“We’ve got some other safeguards in place in terms of how we engage in this kind of activity, but we’re going to continue to go after narcotics dealers,” he said.

Craig also said there has been one report of force used by an officer participating in a “Restore Order” raid but no reports of excessive force.

“(The officers) want to serve this community,” he said. “They are energized, they are motivated and ... they do believe that they’re making a difference.”

The ongoing series of Operation: Restore Order raids started when officers flooded the high-crime Colony Arms Apartments on Jefferson in November 2013.

In the 16 raids prior to Tuesday’s operation, police have made 1,172 arrests, seized 158 weapons, and recovered narcotics valued at around $4.5 million dollars, Craig said.

“I would say this is one of the tools that we’ve used successfully over the 19 months that I’ve been here in terms of really sustaining crime reduction,” he said.

Federal, state and local authorities made 27 arrests and seized seven illegal weapons in a Cherry Blossom raid in early May last year. They also seized drugs with a street value of $87,000 after storming drug locations in a 1-square-mile area near Wyoming and Eight Mile on the city’s northwest side.

In August, officers arrested 20 people on felony charges, confiscated two handguns and made 10 misdemeanor arrests during Operation Aundrea Garland in the Ninth Precinct on the city’s east side. The raid honored Garland, who was fatally shot the week before the raid.

In October, police confiscated more than $1,200 and two pounds of narcotics during a Peace Keepers raid, also in the Ninth Precinct.

One month later, police made 42 felony arrests and 17 misdemeanor arrests during Operation Wild Turkey on the city’s east side. Officers also seized five illegal weapons and narcotics worth $52,010 in street value.

hfournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

Staff Writer Candice Williams contributed.

Operation: Restore Order statistics through first 16 raids

Arrests

Total: 1,172 arrests

18 homicide suspects

42 for carrying a concealed weapon

38 for breaking and entering

25 for criminal sexual conduct

Weapons seized

Total: 158 dangerous weapons

8 assault rifles

55 long guns

94 handguns

Narcotics seized

about $4.5 million in value

590.8 grams cocaine

264.7 grams heroin

279,000 grams marijuana

25,000 pills

Tickets

8,663 tickets issued

Investigations

More than 8,000 people

More than 4,700 vehicles

Source: Detroit Police Department