Seattle's biggest drug sting ever: SPD's Major Crimes Task Force nets 148 suspects

SEATTLE -- Dope dealers call it “The Blade,” the section of downtown Seattle around 3rd avenue between Pike and Pine. This area plays host to an open-air drug market making it the number one crime location in the city’s core, according to Seattle Police.

“Operation Crosstown Traffic” was a three-month endeavor that began on January 28, 2015. The Major Crimes Task Force netted 148 suspects and made 177 “buys” and they are continuing to follow-up on leads. This intensive operation not only targeted drug dealers, but offenders trafficking stolen property.

Q13 FOX News anchor David Rose went with police on the first day of “Operation Crosstown Traffic,” a multi-jurisdictional collaborative and concerted effort by Seattle Police’s Major Crimes Task Force to clean up downtown.

"Anybody who has ever had to wait for a bus there or take visitors to Pike Place Market knows that 1500 block of 3rd Avenue is a blight on Seattle. We watched as commuters and tourists shared the sidewalk with dealers, openly peddling dope and stolen goods. Police know they can't arrest their way out of the problem and that it will also take a compassionate approach towards treating those willing to accept help but getting the most prolific and violent suspects in custody is a strong start to making all of us feel safer," said Q13 FOX News anchor and Washington’s Most Wanted host David Rose.

Detectives in the Major Crimes Task Force went undercover to buy heroin, meth, opiates and other hard drugs but they uncovered much more. They discovered that thieves were shoplifting from local retailers as well as stealing bicycles, then selling the stolen goods on the street and using the cash to purchase drugs, mainly heroin.

“Your average drug user is going into the stores, stealing property, going to the people to sell the property, get their 20 dollars and then going down to the same block and buy drugs with that property,” said Seattle Police Sgt. Todd Jakobsen with the Major Crimes Task Force. “We’re going to try to get multiple hand to hand drug buys from these people, make sure they’re in prison for a long time but not only that but when they do get out, have it in their sentencing, in their punishment that they can’t go back to this area. That’s our goal.”

“Statistically, it’s our number one spot as far as crime goes in the downtown core. This operation was about going after criminals who were not just drug dealers but trafficking in stolen property. It was about cleaning up our city and making it a safe place,” said Major Crimes Task Force Captain Eric Sano.

As of late Thursday, Seattle police had arrested 98 out of 148 suspects and police will be back out Friday looking for the remaining accused drug dealers.