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City drug probe has 52 targets

WINDER - More than 30 people were arrested at the conclusion of an 11-month undercover drug investigation, Winder police said Thursday.

Lt. Dennis Dorsey, spokesman for the Winder Police Department, said warrants have been taken for 52 people he called street-level drug dealers. Police began rounding them up beginning at 5 a.m. Wednesday, and Dorsey expects to have all 52 in custody by this weekend.

"It was extremely successful," Dorsey said. "In Gwinnett, you see some guys go out there and get kilos and pounds, but what we see is street-level. It will make a huge quality-of-life improvement in the areas where people were selling all over Winder."

One of the department's officers posed undercover since the beginning of November, Dorsey said. The timing of the roundup was meant to keep that officer from burning out after having been undercover so long.

Dorsey said a detective in the department who specializes in drugs had been keeping an eye on the cases as well and knew when to wrap it up.

In all, police took hundreds of warrants on the 52 alleged offenders and seized 13 vehicles, $12,000 in cash, a sawed-off shotgun and a small amount of marijuana bagged for distribution.

Charges among those arrested include selling cocaine and marijuana and the sale of drugs within 1,000 feet of government housing.

One suspect, 27-year-old Statham resident Markez Jones, had 33 warrants taken against him, Dorsey said. Another, 24-year-old Lamadre Tanner of Winder, had 21 warrants for the sale of marijuana and cocaine.

Dorsey said Thursday that he was still processing all the arrests and did not have a complete list of names or charges. Jones and Tanner were the suspects who had the most warrants taken against them, he said.

Dorsey said the three areas where the most impact will be seen are on Duke Street and in government housing projects on Hardigree Terrace and in the Glenwood area. Police do not expect the operation will eliminate all drug activity in the city, but they expect to make it more difficult for people to buy drugs.

The Barrow County Sheriff's Office and state probation officers from the Department of Corrections helped police with the arrests, Dorsey said.