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    Hundreds arrested in drug sweep

    Teamwork yields more than 480 arrests, 4,500 grams of crack cocaine, $70,000 in cash and 23 weapons.

    By AMY HERDY

    © St. Petersburg Times, published September 30, 2000


    TAMPA -- Where the city meets the county in Grant Park, Tampa police and Hillsborough sheriff's deputies often find themselves working side by side on drug cases.

    In May, the two agencies, along with Plant City police, decided to officially join forces for a four-month sweep targeting the distribution of crack cocaine.

    With the arrests of more than 480 suspects and the seizure of a cache of weapons, drugs and money, the result was a testament to the power of teamwork, officials said Friday.

    "It's much more efficient for us to work together," said Sheriff Cal Henderson.

    Part of the motivation for the effort, Henderson said, was the "tendency among citizens to think we're not doing anything about the crack cocaine problem."

    More than 100 law enforcement officers joined in the effort, which included undercover buys and surveillance. More than 4,500 grams of crack cocaine were seized, as well as $70,000 in cash and 23 weapons.

    While most of the charges involved drugs, two men, Jaukeva Fleming and William Massey, were charged with armed robbery after deputies said they attacked an undercover detective with a hand saw.

    "He bought a small amount of crack, and was trying to buy a larger amount when one of them came running out of the woods with a saw" and cut the deputy, said Henderson, who declined to identify the detective.

    About 40 more arrests are pending in connection with the case, said sheriff's Lt. Paul Davis, who said any time law enforcement targets crack cocaine, other crime will fall, as well.

    "When we enforce against crack, violent crimes fall and robberies fall," Davis said. "You really see a difference."

    - Amy Herdy can be reached at (813) 226-3386 or herdy@sptimes.com.

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