New Police Crackdown On Drug Dealing In the Central District

Remember how SPD went after a bunch of low-level drug dealers working the 23rd Ave corridor in the Central District and told them to quit dealing or go to jail? And then remember how drug dealing (anecdotally) seemed to go by the wayside in the CD? And then it came back?

Well, the folks over at Central District News have learned that police have now arrested 17 more people in what appears to be a new crackdown on drug dealing in the CD:

Now we know that police were referring to “Operation Safe Union” which began in April and involved patrol officers and narcotics detectives to investigate the ongoing drug activity in the 23rd & Union corridor. Cases were developed through coordinated buy-bust operations and other tools, leading to the new charges against a group of seventeen suspects.

SPD has provided a sample of backgrounds of some of the suspects who were picked up:

  • Two are convicted murderers
  • Two are convicted rapists
  • Three have robbery convictions
  • Two have previously assaulted officers
  • Seven are on probation with the state Department of Corrections for felony offenses
  • One was already under federal indictment
  • One had his young daughter in tow during two suspected drug deals
  • Update–Here’s the official SPD press release:

    Operation “Safe Union” completed

    SEATTLE – Starting in April of this year, the Seattle Police Department initiated a multi-unit narcotics enforcement operation in the East Union Street corridor in Seattle’s Central Area, with a concentrated focus in the area from 20th to 25th Avenues on East Union Street.  Residents and businesses in this particular neighborhood, one small portion of last year’s Drug Market Initiative focus area, alerted the East Precinct of increased drug activity which was confirmed by Officers’ and Detectives’ observations. Though the DMI area continued to see a reduced overall police workload, these particular blocks on East Union Street showed a higher concentration of illegal activity, both day and night.

    One of the goals of Operation “Safe Union” was to help improve the quality of life over the long term by focusing enforcement action against chronic street-level drug dealers and other dangerous offenders. Additionally, support was gained from both the community and the prosecuting attorney’s office so as to increase the overall effectiveness of the operation.

    Operation “Safe Union” included uniformed patrol officers, SPD Narcotics detectives, the East Precinct Anti-Crime and Community Police Teams, Department of Corrections Neighborhood Corrections Initiative Team and with support from both the King County Prosecutor’s Office and the Office of the United States Attorney—Western Washington. 

    Seventeen suspects were investigated, arrested and charged.  Of the seventeen charged, two are convicted murderers, two are convicted rapists, three have robbery convictions, two have “Officer Safety” alerts for assaulting police officers, and seven offenders are on active probation with the WA State Department of Corrections for various felony offenses.  One suspect was federally indicted and one of the seventeen suspects, on two different occasions, had his young daughter with him during the sale of suspected narcotics.

    To help secure the increased level of safety attained thus far, East Precinct officers have increased their uniformed presence in this neighborhood business district and residential area.  High visibility patrols, business and neighborhood checks will ensure the positive impact realized thus far on the quality of life remains intact as a result of the operation.  One of the goals is to help the neighborhood make this particular intersection a destination rather than a crossroads.

    We continue to encourage neighborhood and community involvement with Seattle Police crime fighting and quality of life improvement efforts.  We also encourage anyone who sees suspicious activity to call 911.