Robert VincentSergeant Robert Burkhart
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3/26/10 - Police Tackle Drug Complaints Along 49th Street.

Gulfport, St. Petersburg - Officers from Gulfport and St. Petersburg worked a joint detail today to address concerns about the proliferation of drug dealing along 49th Street. The St. Petersburg Police Street Crimes Unit and the Gulfport Police Special Enforcement Team combined forces, making six arrests for persons suspected of selling drugs or operating stolen vehicles.

Gulfport Police Chief, Robert Vincent, recently attended a So49 (South 49th Street Business Association) meeting, and the primary concern among those present was the perception of frequent drug trafficking on the streets and near their businesses. Crime analysis records also highlighted a significant increase recently in the number of vehicles stolen and recovered in this area. Chief Vincent communicated these concerns to St. Petersburg Police Chief Chuck Harmon. Then, the Gulfport Special Enforcement Team leader, Sergeant Joshua Stone met with leaders of St. Petersburg's Street Crimes Unit to devise a plan for an immediately visible operation.

The task force spent the majority of the afternoon gathering intelligence on potential dealers, and later they made arrests on four people identified with illegal narcotics in their possession. They also carried with them a list of recently-reported stolen cars. One of these vehicles was seen in the area, and the team was able to stop and apprehend the driver.

"This is an excellent example of how the two cities can work together to address problems. You can expect to see much more of this type of thing in the future," said Chief Vincent.

St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer Jamal Thalji was embedded with the units during the operation.

The persons arrested during the operation are:

1. Gregory E. Cleare Jr. B/M 03/15/1989
2. Darren Barnes B/M 02/12/1989
3. Toby Gebhardt W/M 12/21/1973
4. Antonio L. James B/M 11/23/1979
5. Antonio Smith B/M 10/16/1978
6. Roger James B/M 01/12/1973