GULFPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT
MEDIA NEWS RELEASE
                                                                 
Lt. Robert Vincent
Public Information Officer
727-893-1030

08/25/2006

Gulfport Police Department Targets 32 Drug Offenders
In Operation "DAWG Collar"

A months-long investigation along Gulfport’s 49th Street corridor is culminating in a mass arrest this evening.  Gulfport Police and Pinellas Sheriff’s deputies hope to arrest 32 street-level drug dealers on charges ranging from the sale of marijuana to trafficking of prescription narcotics.  The investigation was a cooperative effort between the police department and Sheriff’s Office narcotics task force.

Some highlights of the investigation:

·One individual is being charged with four separate counts of selling crack cocaine.
·Three of those charged come from the same family, all charged with at least one count of selling crack cocaine.
·The manager of the Oyster Bay apartment building is charged with two counts of selling crack cocaine.
·Undercover officers also recovered a rare, hand-carved temple that had been stolen from the grounds of a nearby business. 

This operation is so-named because of Gulfport’s newly-implemented campaign, DAWG (Drugs Aren’t Welcome in Gulfport).  This program gives citizens an opportunity to give tips to police on drug and other criminal activity in their neighborhoods, without being identified, by calling 727-322-BARK. 

Notes for media representatives:

Chief G. Curt Willocks will be available for public appearance and comment between 8:30 and 9:30 PM at the Gulfport Police station, 2401 53rd Street South. 

Police Department policy prohibits “perp walks” or similar displays of suspected criminals to the media.  However, media representatives will have access to an area from which they may be able to film the sally-port area where arrestees are moved from the holding cells to transport vehicles.

Because investigators will continue their efforts to identify additional, higher-level dealers, names and addresses of arrestees will not be released by the police department until the operation is completed for the evening, which should be around midnight.