Police Arrest 20 Drug Dealers on University Way

A three-month operation by the Seattle Police Department has led authorities to identify 24 suspected drug dealers along University Way.

As of Wednesday night, officers had arrested 20 of the 24 drug dealers identified by undercover officers and witnesses. The remaining suspects are still being sought by officers, and police are continuing to conduct emphasis patrols in the University District area.

In June, police began investigating open-air drug dealing in the University District after residents and businesses in the community expressed concern about street dealing.

Police were able to quickly identify dealers, and undercover officers then made controlled purchases of a number of narcotics. During the case, police purchased methamphetamine 14 times, cocaine four times, heroin, pills and fake drugs on one occasion. Detectives also purchased marijuana 10 times from dealers, none of whom appear to have the proper licenses or permits to sell it in Washington state.

Over a two-day period this week, police located, arrested, and booked 20 suspects into King County Jail for drug charges. Police discovered many of the suspects involved in drug dealing around University Way had prior convictions for assault, property destruction, threats, harassment, forgery, trespass, armed robbery, illegal firearms, auto theft, and burglary. Eight of the suspects in the case have been arrested more than 25 times.

As part of the operation, Seattle police are working with community members and the Seattle Department of Transportation to make environmental improvements along University Way, including limiting access to alcoves and alleyways used by dealers to conduct transactions.

The North Precinct is also increasing bike patrols in the neighborhood, in partnership with the University of Washington Police Department. Officers are also working closely with service providers to provide enhanced outreach to those living on the streets in the area.

Officers and detectives from SPD’s Narcotics unit, North Precinct Anti-Crime Team, North Precinct Bike Squad, and North Precinct Community Police Team all worked together for the operation in addition to University of Washington Police Department, Department of Corrections, and King County Metro bike unit.