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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Drug sting near Xcel has a bite in St. Paul

Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.


Blogger Bob said...

More than 100 people have been charged with selling drugs to an undercover police officer in a wheelchair.

By PAT PHEIFER, Star Tribune

Last update: July 25, 2008 - 9:28 PM

More than 100 people were charged with felonies this week after falling for a sting by St. Paul police and allegedly selling drugs to an undercover officer.

According to several of the criminal complaints made public Friday, the "narc" was in an electric wheelchair when he arranged to buy drugs ranging from $10 worth of marijuana to $100 worth of crack cocaine "in and around the area of the Dorothy Day Center" downtown.

Although the homeless shelter and drop-in center for the poor is across the street from the Xcel Energy Center, site of the upcoming Republican National Convention, police spokesman Peter Panos said the undercover operation "has nothing to do with the RNC."

Said Panos, "This is just a follow-on from what we did last year."

According to the charges filed in Ramsey County District Court, a "cooperating individual," or CI, helped the undercover officer find the drug dealers. For example, one complaint said that about 5 p.m. on May 8, the CI called a man who previously had sold crack cocaine to the officer. The man said "his boy will deliver some and will be coming in a green van," the complaint said.

The officer and the CI were told to go to the parking lot of Assumption Church at 51 W. 7th St., where they found a green van with a 33-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman inside.

The man agreed to sell the officer "a dub" -- the street term for $20 worth of crack cocaine. When the transaction was over, the woman drove out of the lot. Police stopped the vehicle about 2 miles away, purportedly for having a cracked windshield, and identified the driver and passenger.

Later that night, the officer again went to the church parking lot and bought $50 worth of crack cocaine from the same man, who was now alone.

Charges in the criminal complaints included third- and fifth-degree violation of controlled substance law and sale of noncontrolled substances.

Last year's sting, a three-month campaign dubbed Operation Shamrock resulted in about 100 people being charged with selling drugs at bus stops in downtown St. Paul. The investigation included hundreds of undercover drug buys, many of them tape-recorded.

Chief John Harrington said then that it was "the beginning of the end of the open-air drug market in St. Paul."

Panos said this year's operation is complete and police hope to arrest the remaining defendants within days.

Police also conducted an undercover prostitution sting Wednesday and Thursday that netted 35 arrests. Thirty-three men ages 22 to 49 have been charged with soliciting prostitution. Two women were picked up and referred to a program that serves women and girls involved in prostitution and sex trafficking.

A news conference will be held Monday to release more information about the drug operation, Panos said.

Staff writer Anthony Lonetree contributed to this report. Pat Pheifer • 651-298-1551

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like they should close down Dorthy Day just like they do to the private sector people.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Some bite.

A friend of mine wanted to see if he could get a joint from the folks who hang out around Dorthy Day. So we jump in the hot rod and take a ride downtown.

We pulled over in front of the church where there was a fella who looked like he was smoking a doobie, and sure enough he was! My friend yelled over to him, "hey can I get one". Folks, it was a pinner and it wasn't very good weed, but the fact is if you really need a joint REAL BAD you can get one downtown slightly over priced and low quality.

I don't care if the police arrest every drug dealer in town. The following day there will be many desperate hungry people willing to chance arrest to earn a few bucks to get by. And a good number of the folks who were arrested will be right back on the streets the following day selling drugs again, only they will be more careful of who they sell to.

The CI (confidential Informant) may end up DEAD. Ask Andray Coppage, Phil Nelson and many others who are hiding or dead for being a snitch.

These small time drug dealer stings are political FLUFF. They serve no purpose other than some press to give citizens the impression something is being done about our social ills.

The government can't keep drugs out of prisons how in the hell do they expect to keep drugs off the streets? The drug war is a HUGE FAILURE.

The money spent on the drug war would be better spent on treatment and educational programs.

2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course Bob is right again, but the upcoming RNC people will bring their own drugs with them.
The big time drug dealers will sell at the hotels, they will be bartenders and bellboys.
The prostitutes will be the cleaning maids and bellboys, and they all will deal drugs.
To drop a dime on Dorothy Day Center as if they are the big drug dealers is stupid, small time for small change.
These people that hang out around Dorothy Day and the Listening House, at Dorothy Day people go to get free showers and wash their cloths, food from the food shelf and eat meals and they have a medical staff to see peoples needs or refer them to some clinic.
The Listening House has a place where the people can sit and play chess or cards, talk or just relax and drink free coffee and donuts and bathrooms so the people can shave and clean up, they also have free cloths and a few medical needs.

Most people at these two places are recovering from drugs and alcohol, not buying and using them.

Would all of you out there rather have these same people roaming the streets or hanging out in the stores steeling?
We help feed the people from our Jesus Delivers food truck in Dorothy Day parking lot, it is sponsored by St.Paul Evangelistic Food Shelf.
Hungry people will steel or worst to get money to eat, free food to poor or homeless helps all of you high hats that look down at these people.
They are not begging you on the streets, so you do not feel obligated to give them money.
Here is the song that most of you might remember?

Like a Rolling Stone,
by Bob Dylan..How does it feel.

Most people in the United State are just one pay check from being out on the streets, so don't laugh when driving by Dorothy Day because it could be you there next.

Donate to some of these places and get a tax credit, show that you care for others.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks you 9:00 AM for that song title, It made my day
Everyone ask yourself,
How Does It Feel?

This one go's out to the
St.Paul City Council.

its byBob Dylan
The lyrics to "Like A Rolling Stone"

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didnt you?
Peopled call, say, beware doll, youre bound to fall
You thought they were all kiddin you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin out
Now you dont talk so loud
Now you dont seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Youve gone to the finest school all right, miss lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out youre gonna have to get used to it
You said youd never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
Hes not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And ask him do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it aint no good
You shouldnt let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a siamese cat
Aint it hard when you discover that
He really wasnt where its at
After he took from you everything he could steal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
Theyre drinkin, thinkin that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But youd better lift your diamond ring, youd better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you cant refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
Youre invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

11:53 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Drug cop's wheelchair fools 'em all; 108 busted
More charges likely after crackdown in downtown St. Paul
By Mara H. Gottfried
Article Last Updated: 07/28/2008 11:21:03 PM CDT

St. Paul police officers were looking for a way for an undercover investigator to infiltrate downtown drug dealing.

They came up with a "brilliant tactical plan" that would allow the plainclothes officer to blend in and appear nonthreatening, Police Chief John Harrington said Monday: They put him in a wheelchair.

The undercover officer bought drugs from more than 140 people over three months, mostly in the areas surrounding the Dorothy Day Center. As of Monday, 108 had been charged, and 50 to 60 more cases were under review, said Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner.

Although the homeless shelter is across from the Xcel Energy Center, which will host the Republican National Convention in September, Harrington said the undercover operation wasn't done in response to the event.

"This operation is based on community concern, community complaints, and that's what the St. Paul police responds to," Harrington said. "It is irrelevant to me that the RNC is around the corner from this location. ... They're unrelated, although I'm not sure if they were related that it would be a bad thing."

Operation Gridlock is the follow-up to Operation Shamrock, a three-month drug operation in 2007 that focused on bus stops downtown. When police announced the results of Operation Shamrock in June 2007, they reported undercover officers bought drugs from about 100 people.

Almost immediately after Operation Shamrock ended, police heard from the Greater St. Paul Building

Owners and Managers Association and the downtown district council, who asked where the drug dealers went, Harrington said.
"The expectation was that even though we had arrested and done stay-away orders as part of Operation Shamrock, that the drug dealing was simply going to relocate," he said.

Police promised to follow up and soon learned dealers had shifted closer to Interstate 94, Harrington said. Police identified the hot spots and developed a plan to put an undercover officer in an electric wheelchair, he said.

A Pioneer Press review of some of the complaints — against 48 people and involving 66 drug buys — filed in Ramsey County District Court showed:

Forty-four involved crack cocaine.

10 involved marijuana. In one case, a man retrieved the marijuana from a baby stroller, with a child inside.

Six involved purported crack, but tests showed the substances weren't drugs.

Three involved heroin.

Two involved prescription drugs.

One was for a balled-up gum wrapper with no drugs inside.
In the case of the purported drugs, prescriptions and gum wrapper, suspects were charged with the sale of a noncontrolled substance.

The intersection where the officer made the most drug buys was St. Peter and Exchange streets, according to the review of complaints. St. Joseph's Hospital is nearby. Police speculate dealers might have thought there were cameras at other intersections and thought St. Peter and Exchange to be a safe place.

Some of the people who tipped off police to the problems were clients of the agencies serving the homeless in that area of downtown, Harrington said.

"Homelessness is a very frightening existence, and many of the people did not feel safe," said Rosemarie Reger-Rumsey, executive director of the Listening House, a drop-in center for homeless people near Dorothy Day.

Some of those charged with selling drugs listed their home address as the Dorothy Day Center, but the majority live in other places, police said.

The operation "helps us ensure the safety we need to provide, especially from predators coming in from the outside," said Tracy Berglund, director of housing for Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which runs Dorothy Day.

The initial mission of Operation Gridlock was to "reduce and eliminate the sale of narcotics in the downtown area," Harrington said, "but almost from the very beginning we found out while the narcotics activity was highlighted in the downtown area, it quite literally spread out from there to Frogtown, to the East Side and to the lower Rice Street areas."

The investigation isn't over. Police will follow up on other locations dealers led them to and see where drug patterns move after the cleanup downtown, Harrington said.

Thirty people have been arrested, and police are continuing to try to track down the rest of the suspects, Harrington said.

Mara H. Gottfried can be reached at 651-228-5262.

5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pick on the small time dealers and let the big fish like Finneys and Fletchers friends get away.

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner should be under investigation for her part in the 1998 bribe between Jesse, Dean Barkley, Bill Dahn, James Kane, and Jesse's campaign committee.
Cover up for the goons in power and nip a few small timers to make Susan Gaertner look good for the 2010 Governors race.
There is enough people pointing the finger at these big time crooks, they think by shifting the attention to some penny ante crooks will make people in St.Paul feel safe.
This is the election that will make people feel that their jobs are on the line, even some of these code inspectors.
Norm wouldn't feel his job is safe from Dean Barkley, who was the brains behind Jesse and another lawyer.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 5:58 AM
Would you be talking about how
Aaron Foster got away with murder.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Foster, the Pluffs, Nylon.. All those shady characters Finney and Fletcher associate with.

9:30 AM  

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