Police Make More Than 30 Predawn Arrests! 

Police Make More Than 30 Predawn Arrests! 
Posted by FoM on December 22, 1998 at 11:22:47 PT

Gulfport - Police are hoping the predawn arrests Monday of more than 30 street-level drug dealer suspects will make the city a little safer during the Christmas holidays.
"This is an early Christmas present for the people who live in the neighborhoods where drug dealers operate," Gulfport police Chief George Payne Jr. said Monday. "We know that at least half of them will get out of jail in a day or two, but the key is that some are repeat offenders and won't be able to bond out."Undercover officers with the Coastal Narcotics team started buying crack cocaine and marijuana from the suspects in October. The narcotics team is made up of officers from Gulfport, Pass Christian, Long Beach and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.Gulfport police Det. Ron Wigginton said officers purchased mostly crack and some marijuana from 62 people, although the actual identities of only 39 suspects were known. Undercover officers, he said, will help identify the suspects whose names and addresses weren't known."They recognize them," Wigginton said, "when we're out making the arrests."Of those arrested Monday, five had lengthy criminal records and were denied bond. Some of the suspects were first-time offenders with bonds set at low as $2,000.Most of Monday's arrests occurred in East Gulfport, where 17 were reported. Another 10 suspects were picked up in North Gulfport, followed by nine in the western part of the city.Police had 62 arrest warrants and hoped to make all the arrests in the next few weeks."With drugs, it's a constant thing that you have to keep on fighting," Payne said. "This will happen again." 
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