Fourteen arrested in Baltimore 'war room' drug operation

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 09, 2015 5:42 PM

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Fourteen people have been arrested on drug charges after an investigation by a local-federal "war room" set up to fight soaring homicides and other crimes, authorities said on Monday.

Another six suspects facing indictments from the probe by Baltimore detectives and the Drug Enforcement Administration are still at large, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said at a news conference.

The arrests and charges are the fruit of increased cooperation between federal agencies and Baltimore police after protests and rioting following the death in April of a black man, Freddie Gray, from an injury in police custody, Davis said.

The homicide rate soared after Gray's death, and police blamed gang turf wars fueled by drugs looted from pharmacies. Baltimore has recorded 294 homicides this year, above the 211 for all of 2014, according to a running tally by the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

Officials have dubbed the coordinated investigations and crime-fighting teams the "war room."

"These partnerships are absolutely working," Davis said. "We look at people who are prone to committing violence again and again."

Eight handguns, one assault weapon, cocaine, marijuana and $2,300 in cash were also seized, police said.

(Reporting by Donna Owens; Editing by Bernard Orr)