The Birmingham News
Big drug arrests have made headlines this month: 2,000 pounds of marijuana worth $4.1 million found in a hidden compartment in a tractor-trailer on Interstate 20; 1,000 pounds of marijuana worth $2 million seized mid-drop in some Mulga woods; and 18 kilograms of cocaine worth $2 million found in a Clairmont Avenue apartment after a shootout with Birmingham police.
But those who best know the business say the drug war isn't won with high-profile takedowns of large shipments on the highways, but instead fought quietly, house-by-house and street-by-street.
In January this year, the drug unit ran 65 highway interdiction operations and prepared 33 search warrants. They made 52 felony and 181 misdemeanor arrests. They seized almost $200,000 worth of drugs, $9,000 in cash, two vehicles and 24 weapons.
For all of 2005, the vice and narcotics division served 383 search warrants, conducted 485 vice operations, and performed more than 1,000 undercover drug deals. Those efforts led to 669 felony and 1,071 misdemeanor arrests, confiscation of nearly $700,000 in cash and more than $1.4 million in drugs.
Among the drugs seized: 20.75 pounds of cocaine (12.25 pounds of crack and 8.5 pounds of powder); 519 pounds of marijuana; 1,109.5 grams of methamphetamine, 16.7 grams of heroin, and more than 6,300 illegal pills.
In addition to the drug team's work, efforts during 2005 in the patrol division led to 1,247 more warrants issued through beat and task force officers.
Over the past three years, nearly $6 million in drugs and $1.5 million in cash has been seized by police.