175 arrested in $1.4 million Kensington drug bust

On Monday, officials announced the arrests of more than 170 people following a three day operation that netted drugs, weapons and cash

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Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney joined law enforcement officials on Monday to announce the arrests of more than 170 people in a three day operation that saw 27 guns confiscated and about $1.4 million worth of drugs taken off the streets.

"What's happening in Kensington is unacceptable. A life lost to gun violence or an overdose is one too many and we cannot allow the continued operation of a drug market that exploits and endangers our residents," Kenney said on Monday.

Police arrested 175 people and confiscated more than $1.4 million in drugs, along with guns and thousands in U.S. currency over a three-day span last week, according to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

In a breakdown of the investigation, Frank Vanore, deputy commissioner of investigations for the Philadelphia Police Department, said the initiative targeted "one of our most prolific areas for gun violence and drug trafficking," by focusing on parts of Kensington that are patrolled by the city's 24th and 25th districts.

Vanore said that officers began by serving arrest warrants and search warrants starting last Tuesday. The second day, he said, officers focused on open air drug markets throughout the 24th, 25th and 26th police districts, offering diversionary programs to about 30 of those they encountered.

On the third day, more than 50 officers on bikes patrolled Kensington and made narcotics arrests throughout the neighborhood as well as along SEPTA platforms in the region.

"All told there was over $1.4 million dollars' worth of narcotics, that's at a street level. There were 79 total warrants served, and 175 arrests," Vanore said.

Vanore said there were also 27 guns along with more than $110,000 in cash confiscated.

"This is drugs that we won't see on the street this summer," said Vanore.

Officials did not specifically name any individual involved in this bust, instead it was an initiative intended to focus on one specific area that has been a problem for some time.

Law enforcement officials could not name exactly what types of drugs were recovered, as tests are still being done, but Vanore said police confiscated over 60 pounds of marijuana, 1,200 grams of heroin and 850 grams of Fentanyl.

"I'm sure there's Fentanyl in narcotics here we don't know about either, because it does mix with other narcotics as well," he said.

Asked if similar drug busts might happen this summer, Vanore said that law enforcement officials do these types of busts regularly, but he would not say when or where the police may focus next.

"We are hoping our overdoses, which trend down a little bit, keep going down because we are taking drugs off the street," Vanore said.

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