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DPD assists in drug sweep

Nearly a dozen officers with the Demopolis Police Department played a role in a large-scale drug bust in Selma Wednesday morning that had been years in the making.

Demopolis Police Chief Tommie Reese said 11 agents from the Demopolis SWAT Team backed up more than 20 Selma officers in one of Selma’s largest drug raids in 17 years.

Officers from Demopolis executed several search warrants with officers from Selma and it became the second in a series of investigations that, thus far, has arrested more than 50 suspected drug dealers from Marengo and Dallas counties.

“We’ve had two people that came from Selma that sold to an undercover agent here,” DPD Chief Tommie Reese said. “We know Selma’s drug problem is coming here and our problem is going there…We share the same problems.”

In July, officers from Selma assisted the DPD in their ‘Operation: Wake Up Call’, an exercise that netted more than 20 local arrests. With Wednesday’s reciprocation, the relationship between SPD and DPD has put nearly 50 suspected drug dealers and users behind bars.

“(Selma Police Chief W.T. Riley) and I met in 2009 at a conference in New Orleans and we talked about some of his problems over here,” Reese told the Selma Times Journal shortly after the bust. “We made a pact that he would come over to Demopolis and help me and I would help him. Some of the drug problems (in Selma) were coming to Demopolis and vice versa. We have to network to prevent that.”

Federal indictments were retuned against 28 drug suspects, all from Dallas County, which launched a strike that saw all 26 men and two women jailed by later in the day.

U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown saluted what he called a major collaborative effort, saying that in addition to undercover agents making cocaine drug buys to set up the arrests, the operation also included assistance from the Alabama Air National Guard.

He said National Guard pilots flew 17 missions in support of ground units in a crackdown that cost $700,000 during the lengthy investigation.

As the jail log at both the Dallas and Marengo County Jail continues to grow, Reese said the relationship between his and the Selma Department has a bright future ahead.

“We plan to work on more and more operations together and we hope that shows law enforcement can come together for common good.”