Striving to clean up one of the most notorious drug trafficking areas in the city, police posed as gang members in a reverse sting Tuesday night and arrested 18 people on suspicion of trying to buy drugs at a local apartment complex.
The four-hour operation at the 15th Street apartment complex--less than a block from police headquarters--was part of a bid to stop rampant drug sales in the complex’s large parking lot, Police Sgt. Bob Amren said.
Undercover officers staked out the lot at 7 p.m. Tuesday and waited for buyers to drive up. When they did, Amren said, officers approached and sold them parsley flakes resembling marijuana or baking powder looking like cocaine.
Those arrested were cited on suspicion of solicitation to buy drugs and released on their own recognizance, Amren said.
For several weeks, police have been using varied tactics to slow the increasing drug trade. Before Tuesday’s sting, they staked out the parking lot, witnessed sales and arrested sellers and buyers. Police have made 54 drug-related arrests at the complex in the last 11 days, Amren said.