Medford drug team rounds up street dealers

In a sweep aimed at stopping drug-related crime, Medford police targeted 23 low-level dealers across the Rogue Valley today.

The Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team launched an undercover investigation in June and sent seven teams of detectives out this morning to arrest suspects. Thirteen of the suspects, and two other people arrested on other charges or warrants, were in custody early this afternoon.

"This will make a difference in the livability of our community," Medford Police Chief Randy Schoen said.

Starting with complaints from concerned neighbors, police identified suspected dealers, set up surveillance and sent informants to buy a variety of drugs, including prescription painkillers, methamphetamine, ecstasy, crack cocaine and marijuana.

The evidence that officers collected was presented to a grand jury, which indicted 12 women and 11 men. The suspected dealers range in age from 15 to 55 years old.

Schoen described most of the suspected dealers as addicts who started distributing drugs to get cash or access to drugs to meet their own needs. Many already have criminal records.

Authorities identify drugs as a contributing factor in thefts, burglaries and violent crimes, as well as nuisance complaints about noise and traffic.

— Anita Burke

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