PHOTOS: 104 alleged dealers targeted in Pennsylvania drug sweep

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

DARBY, Pa. -- Police have released the names of 104 of the suspects targeted in an operation to track down alleged drug dealers in and around Darby Borough.

PHOTOS: Names, photos of suspects in Darby drug sweep

Seven teams of law enforcement officers made arrests across Delaware County and Philadelphia.

A total of 110 arrest warrants were served as police fanned out Thursday morning. In the end, dozens of arrests were made, and police seized more than $48,000 worth of drugs.

It was called 'Operation Spring Cleaning.'

"This, today, is sending a message to Darby Borough: We're not going to tolerate drug sales on our corners. We're not going to have people selling this poison," said Chief Robert Smythe.

District Attorney Jack Whelan said authorities targeted "individuals that are destroying the character and the quality of our neighborhood, and making life miserable for law-abiding residents."

The sweep was the result of a six-month-long investigation targeting open-air drug sales in Darby. Smythe said that 188 undercover purchases were made during the operation.

"These people are all going to be charged with sales, but what they probably should be charged with is some sort of homicide or unnatural death because they are killing our population," said Smythe.

"Today is a beautiful day in Darby Borough," said Mayor Helen Thomas. "We're finally getting the chance take our borough back. We're getting the crack and other drugs off our streets."

Officials say the operation went smoothly, but one woman is outraged. She said her house was targeted in a case of mistaken identity.

Natasha Richardson just recently moved into her home on Pine Street. She says police barged in and her 14-year-old was thrown to the ground.

"I just started shaking because they had my son on the ground, they had a gun to his head. 14 years old! He's a big guy, but he's only 14, he's a kid," she said.

Dozens of people were taken into custody after a massive drug raid on Thursday morning.

Smythe said that with an operation of this magnitude there can be flaws. He said he will personally apologize.

"The person we were looking for wasn't in that house, wasn't one of the residents in there. And we will handle whatever we have to handle to make the doors and the damage right, and we're certainly going to go down and apologize."

Smythe said there were no other reports of mistaken raids.

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