NOPD arrests 71 drug dealers in undercover operation, has warrants for 54 more

NEW ORLEANS - The NOPD has taken on more than 100 drug cases since May in a large scale undercover operation designed to make the city safer.

Chief Michael Harrison said the summer months are often the most violent time of the year in New Orleans, and under the leadership of Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the NOPD has undertaken a wide-reaching effort to clean up the streets.

“Our summer crime suppression strategy was once again a huge success,” Harrison said. “That includes one of the largest undercover narcotics investigations in recent years. That started in early May, and, as of today, we’ve arrested 71 drug dealers, and we have outstanding arrest warrants for an additional 54 drug dealers who we are coming for. That’s a total of 125 drug cases.”

All of the drug dealers were caught selling various drugs ranging from crack cocaine to heroin to undercover officers, Harrison said, leading to distribution cases instead of possession.
The Louisiana State Police, U.S. Marshals, and ATF agents have all contributed to the effort, Harrison said.

This focus on street level drug dealers is designed to make the city safer since most violent crime in New Orleans is connected in some way to drugs, he said.

Cantrell said the strategic partnerships with local and national law enforcement agencies have led to real results on the ground.

And the arrests will continue after the first wave of 71, she said.

“We are not going to let up until we ensure that they are off the streets of New Orleans,” Cantrell said. “And that’s what this is all about: public safety for all of our residents.”

Overall, major crime was down in Orleans Parish in the first six months of 2018, according to Harrison.

“Murders are down nearly five percent,” he said. “Non-fatal shootings are down almost 38 percent. The number of people wounded in those shootings is down about 38 percent. That’s more than 100 fewer victims of gun violence than during the same period in 2017. Armed robberies were down almost 15 percent, burglaries were down 19 percent, and those numbers are continuing to trend down as we enter mid-August.”