ESCONDIDO (CNS) - A seven-month crackdown on drug-dealing gangs in Escondido resulted in scores of arrests, along with the seizure of an array of narcotics, nearly three dozen guns and almost $100,000 worth of illicit cash proceeds, authorities reported Monday.
During the sweep, which began in May, detectives and personnel with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration gathered intelligence on the activities of the criminal groups while purchasing "large quantities of narcotics and firearms," police Lt. Chris Wynn said.
"To date, approximately 86 suspects have been identified, and over 1,300 items of evidence have been seized," the lieutenant said.
Last month, authorities began arresting the alleged drug dealers. As of this morning, 59 people had been jailed in the case.
"Defendants are being prosecuted either federally or through the state, depending on the severity of their charges or the quantity of narcotics and/or firearms sold," Wynn said.
The investigation, dubbed "Operation Hidden Valley," also yielded the seizure of 35 guns, 35 1/2 pounds of methamphetamine, 4.33 pounds of marijuana, 1.44 pounds of cocaine, 9.6 ounces of heroin, 3,000 prescription pills, 250 doses of LSD, 40 ecstasy tablets and $99,281 in U.S. currency.
"The operation is ongoing, and additional narcotics, firearms and money seizures, as well as additional arrests, are anticipated," Wynn said.
Authorities plan to withhold the names of the arrestees until all suspects named in the investigation are in custody, he said.
Police Chief David Nisleit Friday strongly disavowed what he described as an unofficial, "never authorized" departmental program that rewarded officers for making narcotics arrests.
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