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36 arrested in sweep of drug suspects through Boston

Local authorities, in a sweep through multiple neighborhoods in Boston, arrested 36 people for a number of drug offenses on Thursday, according to police.

“Today I want to announce, starting at 8 this morning, we set out and we locked up 36 offenders, some of them with violent histories, for various drug offenses throughout the city of Boston,” said Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans. “In that operation, we seized money, we seized a firearm, as well as obviously some cash.”

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The 25 men and 11 women were arrested in South Boston, Dorchester, the South End, and Roxbury. Twelve of the 36 were arrested at 99 Waldeck St. in Dorchester, Evans said.

“As you know, drugs and violence go hand in hand,” Evans said. “It’s part of a concerted effort to make the city of Boston a safer place.”

He said that the city has seen a 28 percent reduction in shootings and violent crime in Boston is down 13 percent.

“It strikes to the point that we’ve made this a major priority.”

Evans spoke to media at police headquarters in Roxbury alongside Superintendent Robert Merner and Superintendent in Chief William G. Gross. He said that although there were 36 arrests in one day, they stemmed off of numerous investigations and that the arrests are not necessarily linked to one another.

“There are several separate investigations here,” he said. “There’s not one link between them all.”

Police are continuing to identify “problem properties” that are linked to violence in the city. The address, 99 Waldeck St., is one of those properties, said Evans. Last year, police received 84 calls for incidents at the address, ranging from drug overdoses to hostage situations.

“One operation was concentrated as ‘Operation New Start’ in one section of the city, which was a drug operation,” said Merner who said the investigation started about a month ago. “[It was] very targeted down in the Lenox Housing Development area.

After the crackdown, Evans said there are 11 individuals still at large with outstanding warrants.

“As you know, we had a rough January and February with the homicides,” he said. “But through the hard work, we’ve been able to stem that tide.”

He said the department always had concerns with summer on the horizon, but he felt things were going well. Police have seized or received a total of 510 guns since the beginning of the year, which has been a focus for the department. Officers have seized 205 guns and 305 have been turned in through the city’s buy-back program, he said.

“This is just part of Mayor Walsh’s overall strategy to make sure the city is a vibrant place, but also a safe place for the young children and the residents to enjoy with the summer coming,” Evans said.

Derek J. Anderson can be reached at derek.anderson@globe.com.
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