After a month-long investigation, police busted more than 30 drug dealers and gang members near Westlake Park in the past week. (MyNorthwest.com file photo)

Over 30 drug dealers, gang members arrested in downtown Seattle

After a month-long investigation, police busted more than 30 drug dealers and gang members near Westlake Park in the past week.

"This operation was about helping downtown businesses and their customers as well as Metro Employees and transit riders downtown," said Sgt. Thomas Flanagan from the King County Sheriff's Office Metro Police Unit.

Police said Operation Happy Holidays began in September after several reports of drug dealing and gang activity near the Third Avenue corridor. Officers witnessed the selling and purchasing of crack cocaine, powder cocaine, pills, and marijuana.

"We were specifically targeting gang members and dealers in this operation," said Seattle Police Gang Unit Sergeant Steve Jandoc, "we didn't go after addicts."

Recent changes to marijuana laws complicated the investigation, according to police.

"Dealers will sell marijuana," Sgt. Jandoc said, "but they like to get to know their customers before they'll sell other drugs."

But undercover officers were still able to get crack, ecstasy and other drugs from dealers, which led to the arrest of 31 suspect. Police say 17 of the suspects have three prior felony convictions, four have 9 prior felony convictions, and one suspect has 12 prior felony convictions.

Seattle Police and the King County Sheriff's Office will work with prosecutors to file felony charges.

Stephanie Klein, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Stephanie joined the MyNorthwest.com team in February 2008. She has built the site into a two-time National Edward R. Murrow Award winner (Best Radio Website 2010, 2012).
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