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Boynton Beach police say 'Operation Cherry Pill' is getting drugs off the street, curbing overdoses

Posted at 5:15 PM, Nov 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-30 09:49:44-05

Boynton Beach’s Police Chief Jeffrey Katz says he’s delivering a blow to the drug epidemic that has plagued his city.

Five different agencies, including his department, conducted the investigation called "Operation Cherry Pill."

The goal wasn’t just to get dealers off the streets, it was also to help stem the tide of an ongoing crisis. 

The year-long operation has nabbed 16 people on drug charges. 

Ten of the 16 suspects in the case were arrested on Tuesday, with several of them caught as they stood in front of a convenience store on MLK Boulevard.

Police seized more than $21,000 and 729 grams of drugs that included heroin, cocaine, and Percocet. 

“I think the work that was done is really going to impact some of the most vulnerable in our community, the people that are struggling with addiction," Katz said. 

Katz says curbing the overdose crisis is the goal. 

Despite the city seeing more overdoses and overdose deaths this year, he says the sheer volume of calls has decreased since the operation started. 

“It was not uncharacteristic for us to respond to three, or four overdoses in a shift. Now we may respond to one, we may not respond to any,” he says. 

NewsChannel 5 attempted to get a reaction from folks living in the area, but most declined to appear on camera. 

One daycare said it’s good to get drugs off the street and away from the kids, but noted many of those same kids lose family members caught up in the drug trade. 

Another person said it’s only temporary relief because drugs will once again flood the streets.

Capt. Steve Burdelski says the operation will make an impact.

“We can never permanently remove them, but we try to reduce it on a short-term period of time by staying on top of this continually," he says. 

Investigators say this one is far from over, as they expect to make more arrests.

Katz’s warning for dealers: “We may know who you are, and you should probably be looking over your shoulder.”