Police say after months of hard work and thousands of man hours, the streets of York are now a little bit safer thanks to Operation Sunrise: 80 people were arrested in one of the largest drug sweeps in York County history.
The 18-month undercover investigation into the sale and distribution of cocaine and heroin culminated early Wednesday morning when police swarmed the city making arrests. Everyone was targeted.
“From those selling individual bags of heroin for $15 or $20 on our street corners, to those responsible for bringing larger amounts of heroin and cocaine into York city from source cities [such] as Philadelphia and New York,” said York County District Attorney Tom Kearney.
In all, officers seized more than $300,000 in drugs and $34,000 in cash.
Police say street gangs play a big role in drug activities in York. He said the Latin Kings were even trying to set up a chapter in the city at one point.
“Because of various interdiction by law enforcement and other outside forces that chapter never came to be,” said Captain Steven Junkin of the Pennsylvania State Police.
Investigators say the southeast section of York is a major hub for illegal drug and gang activity, but they hope crackdowns like this will help curb the violence.
“We see a lot of people coming and going, and we know that it's drug related around here,” said Leon Wilson of York. He's lived in that section of the city for more than three decades. He says he's seen the decline and is happy police are taking a stand.
“It's about time because this area is polluted with activity going up and down this alley, so I'm glad to see they're waking up and doing something about it,” he said.
“We will continue to suppress crime from the uniformed patrol officer to the criminal investigator to the undercover operative. We are patient, persistent, and determined,” said Junkin.
Police credit the different agencies working together into making Operation Sunrise such a success. The district attorney says this is just the beginning.
There are still dozens of people involved in this drug ring who are still wanted. Their pictures are in the slide show below.