MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A three-month-long undercover operation ended, according to Mobile Police.
Operation West Side focused around Zeigler Boulevard, Athey and Cody Roads. WKRG News 5 went out with the team performing the operation three times over the span of a week.
“We go after, in these operations, a lot of times more of the low-level drug dealer,” said Captain Jonathan Lee with Mobile Police.
“Oftentimes the low-level drug dealing can have more violence,” said Lee. “They’re more of the street corner drug sales or the house-to-house drug sales, and they can be more violent.”
“We still deal with quite a bit of crack cocaine from time to time,” said Public Safety Director Lawrence Battiste. “And methamphetamine is really one of the driving drug forces here in the City of Mobile.”
Battiste said the goal is to get to the source of the distribution.
“We know that if we pick up some of the guys at the bottom, then they help us get to the guy at the top, it’s a constant effort to try to identify who the players are,” said Battiste.
The enforcement we see here happens fast, but the operation starts long before police roll-out.
“There’s a lot, a lot, a lot of hours that goes into that,” said Lee. “Everything from when we do control buys, surveillance, the planning, and operation part, because we want to take the drugs out of the community, but do it as safe as we can.”
Operations factor in safety for the community, neighbors and also officers who wear gloves protecting them against growing threats.
“Now you’re starting to see meth, crack and even marijuana all the laced in some kind of way with the fentanyl,” said Battiste.
Through the operation, police confiscated 4.5 pounds of marijuana, 4.5 grams of cocaine, 3.8 grams of meth, 40 hydrocodone pills, 31 grams of codeine syrup, $1,866, and five guns.
Officers arrested nine people. Five of them were targeted in the operation. They are Eldridge Rander,19, Marquell Lee, 31, Christopher Coleman, 31, Dizzy Miller, 42, and Brandon Osburn, 34.
The other people arrested are Jaelin Williams, 22, Donte Jackson, 44, Felicia Reaser,47, and Paul Hart, 53.
Mobile Police officers are still looking for seven more targets. They are Joseph Dixon,22, Willie Williams, 41, David Carlton, 26, Horatio Holifield, 37, Keantea Faulkner-Abrams, 27, Johnathan Wright, 27, and Samuel Jones, 41.
The operation hopes to make a difference in the communities surrounding Zeigler Boulevard, Athey and Cody Roads, but the task of fighting drugs is never-ending.
“Drugs are like a fire. Whatever they touch, they burn up, they consume. And for the dealer, it’s a record. It’s maybe a violent encounter,” said Lee. “For the user, there can become [an] addiction. Families are involved, children are traumatized.”