OCEANSIDE — In the early morning hours of Feb. 26, multiple law enforcement agencies swept through Oceanside arresting nearly three dozen suspects accused of violating state and federal drug laws, authorities said.
The arrests of the 31 individuals, 15 of whom had gang ties, were the culmination of Operation Rock Solid, a six-month investigation in Oceanside targeting drug dealers and gang members, said Oceanside police Chief Frank McCoy at a press conference several hours after the arrests.
Six individuals have been charged federally, while the other 25 arrestees are being prosecuted by the San Diego County District Attorney’s office. Thirteen suspects remain at large.
Following reports of increased downtown drug dealing, the Oceanside Police Department initiated the operation in September 2008, McCoy said. During the investigation undercover Oceanside police officers and DEA agents bought crack cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and ecstasy.
“The Oceanside Police Department has and will continue its aggressive stance against gangs and drug dealers in our community,” McCoy said. “This operation is just another example of our commitment to not only utilize our resources, but to bring in other law enforcement resources to have an even greater impact on this activity.”
More than 200 law enforcement officers assisted in the operation including agents from the DEA’s Mobile Enforcement Team, a program that aids local police in targeting drug dealers and drug-related crimes.
“This investigation is a great example of the powerful impact cooperative law enforcement can have on protecting the community’s safety and quality of life,” Ralph Partridge, special agent in charge of the DEA San Diego Field Division, said.
Funding for the operation came from the Oceanside Police Department, federal grants and mutual cooperation between local law enforcement agencies, Oceanside police Sgt. Kelan Poorman said.
Throughout the investigation, authorities seized more than 500 ecstasy pills, a half-pound of crack cocaine, several pounds of marijuana, 2 ounces of methamphetamine and a handgun, Partridge said.
The amount of drugs confiscated is not as significant as the fact that the people who were selling and distributing drugs in the community have been arrested, the agent said.
“Drug trafficking puts everybody down,” Partridge said.