Officers from the Mobile Police Department and other agencies conducted the second half of a narcotics operation Thursday afternoon, though multiple targeted suspects were not apprehended.
After receiving numerous complaints of drug activity in a neighborhood off Broad Street typically referred to as “Down the Bay,” MPD launched a months-long undercover effort called “Operation Baywatch” to identify individuals selling narcotics in the area and the locations they were being sold.
According to Maj. John Barber, who commands the Investigative Operations Division, MPD made use of confidential informants and plainclothes officers to facilitate undercover buys of various narcotics, the most prevalent being marijuana, crack cocaine and prescription pills.
He said most of those transactions were made at residential homes, though some occurred at licensed businesses.
On June 21, MPD launched the first round of enforcement actions stemming from “Operation Baywatch,” which targeted the area of Oaklawn Homes on Baltimore Street.
Eight search warrants were executed, and while seven arrests were made, only five of those were suspects MPD had arrest warrants for.
All five of the targeted suspects were charged with at least one count of distributing a controlled substance.
One of the other two was arrested on an outstanding warrant, while the other was charged for not having a driver’s license and not having a child restraint. At least three weapons were seized during the raids.
This week, narcotics officers teamed up with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency for the second enforcement phase of Baywatch. Barber said MPD also called in members of its SWAT team and officers currently working with federal task forces for additional “manpower.”
One of the locations targeted Thursday was Washington Automotive on South Washington Avenue — a near derelict tire shop that police swarmed shortly before 2 p.m.
It was one of two businesses MPD identified that were selling narcotics or allowing drug activity to take place on the premises. Barber said city code enforcement officers would also be reviewing for any building violations.
Police still have a warrant for an unidentified second business that was not raided Thursday.
However, like the first phase of Baywatch in June, Thursday’s efforts did not yield most of the arrests police were looking for. While nine search warrants were executed and 11 individuals arrested, only three were targeted suspects identified as drug dealers by MPD undercover operations earlier this year. Eight others remain at large.
Most of the other nontargeted suspects arrested were charged with possession of a controlled substance, though jail records indicated some were picked up on outstanding warrants for other minor offenses.
A handful of individuals were also temporarily detained by MPD but released without being charged.
Ironically, the suspect charged with the most counts of drug distribution was one MPD was didn’t know of before Thursday’s raids.
Demetrius Anderson was charged with eight counts of distribution of a controlled substance and will also face additional charges the possession of drug and drug paraphernalia.
A slideshow of other arrested and their charges can be viewed below.