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Scores of St. Paul police officers raided several neighborhoods and arrested 27 people Wednesday morning as part of a continuing effort to combat open-air drug dealing on the East Side.
Most of those arrested were charged with drug trafficking. Other charges included weapons possession and drug possession, and some were arrested for outstanding warrants.
About 80 officers took part Wednesday in the mass arrests.
No strong resistance or injuries were reported during the police sweeps, which began about 6 a.m. while many of the suspects were sleeping.
Police officials said street cops played a crucial role in identifying problem areas months ago. Undercover investigators then moved in during the last part of May and made dozens of low-level buys from street-corner dealers in the Dayton's Bluff and the Railroad Island neighborhoods.
Although more than two dozen suspects were arrested around the city, police say investigators still hope to arrest 15 more people.
Investigators said the arrests were not connected to a major drug ring.
"These are people who are shooting people ... they're involved in violent crime," said Chief John Harrington. "Taking these people off the street makes for a safer city."
Police confiscated two guns, small quantities of methamphetamine and crack cocaine and about $2,000 in cash, said Cmdr. Todd Axtell, who headed the operation.
He and others said that although the quantities seized were small, the positive effect on the neighborhoods from the arrests will be huge.