ELIZABETH CITY — Flash, bang, boom! The bright white light and smoke of a flash-bang device could be seen for blocks around a house on Factory Street.
It was one of six suspected drug houses hit by police during simultaneous raids Thursday night.
The take wasn’t large, but the message was loud.
On Thursday night, about 60 police officers from several jurisdictions gathered in the cafeteria at Northeastern High School. They started the night with pizza and soda, talking shop and swapping stories.
Yet the relaxed atmosphere quickly turned to business when Elizabeth City Police Sgt. Gary Bray called for everyone’s attention.
Bray, the operation’s commander, explained that the drug investigations began on the houses in December as a result of citizen and police complaints. Undercover police made several controlled buys from suspects at each targeted location in an effort to secure search warrants.
The group then broke into six teams – one for each house that was to be raided.
Police K-9 units and Elizabeth City and Currituck County SWAT teams were assigned to houses where crowd control was expected to be an issue.
Each team gathered at one of six tables and opened up a white box. Inside was a photo of the targeted house, evidence-collection supplies and a hand-drawn map of the house interior.
The team leaders held up the map, pointed out entry points and organized how officers would arrive at the scene and “stack” their entrance into each house.
An hour after arriving at the high school, police gathered their gear, re packed the boxes, stopped for a brief prayer and headed to the parking lot.
At 8:05 p.m., police climbed into their cars – both police cruisers and unmarked vehicles – and headed out to their staging areas.
Ten minutes later, once everyone was in place, Bray announced the order to go.
Within seconds, three houses were hit with flash-bang devices, while police hit three others with battering rams and ran inside.
The flash-bang devices caught the attention of neighbors. Some stood outside on their porches and watched. The devices are meant to surprise and distract suspects.
Once the police secured the houses and handcuffed their suspects, they began searching. Officers wearing helmets and carrying rifles cast shadows through the windows as they walked through the interiors looking for evidence and additional suspects.
In the end, nine people were arrested or cited at the scene, and police collected more than 1 ounce of crack cocaine, 12 grams of marijuana, two firearms, assorted drug paraphernalia and more than $1,200.
While there were no major finds, police know they made an impression in the community.
What a fun time! You get to hang out with your buddies, play dress-up, bomb peoples homes and kidnap them, plus there's Free Pizza! This is even better than bowling night.
From Wikipedia Grenade
Stun grenades, also known as flashbangs, were originally designed for the British Special Air Service. Stun grenades are used to confuse, disorient, or momentarily distract a potential threat for up to five seconds. A "flashbang" can seriously degrade the combat effectiveness of affected personnel for up to a minute. The best known is the M84 Stun Grenade, commonly known as the "Flashbang", so called because it produces a blinding (1 million Candela) flash and deafening (170-180 decibel) blast. This grenade can be used to incapacitate people, generally without causing serious injury.