San Diego Police started targeting street-level drug dealers in downtown neighborhoods two months ago and today announced the fruits of their undercover investigation at a press conference. They’ve indicted 43 people and already arrested 38.

The suspects include people affiliated with street gangs, 14 people on parole and 10 on probation. Police began making arrests May 27, charging them felony narcotic sales violations related to selling rock cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana or others, police said.

The Union-Tribune has more details from the press conference, including how the sweep focused on the southeastern corner of the East Village near 17th and K. In March, we wrote this story about how drug dealing has become a ubiquitous part of that area.

Here’s an excerpt from our story:

On 17th Street, small houses and low-income apartments line one side and the other abuts Interstate 5 with wire fencing. It’s home to a large transient population with the city’s day homeless shelter and other social services in the area.

In a five-block stretch of 17th Street alone, police arrested 262 people last year for narcotics violations. Include three more streets, over to 14th, and the total nears 900 arrests. One out of every 10 people arrested for drug violations in San Diego last year was picked up from this corner of the East Village.


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