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Camden drug busts show suburbs’ addicts

Seventy percent of arrests came from outside the city.

When Camden police set up a sting for purchasers of illegal drugs in the
city's Lanning Square section, they might not have realized the Tuesday
night undercover operation would so easily highlight a problem for many
struggling urban areas: suburban drug addiction.

The numbers easily told a tale of how those living in suburbs of
areas like Camden and North Philadelphia often fuel the ever-fluid drug
trade. Thirty-five of the 49 people busted by undercover officers posing
as drug dealers for allegedly trying to buy drugs traveled into Camden
from surrounding counties.

"The suburban drug buyers are the life blood to our open-air drug
market epidemic, and we will continue to aggressively target these
offenders," Camden police Chief John Thomson said. "By sharing the
arrest intelligence with our law enforcement partners, hopefully these
suspects can be interdicted prior to crossing into our city to commit
further offenses."

Those arrested were charged with loitering to commit a controlled
dangerous substances offense. They face up to a $1,000 fine and six
months in jail. Those 35 people came from the suburbs of Camden,
Gloucester, Burlington and Atlantic Counties, according to the list
provided by the city.

"Whether you live in the suburbs or in Camden, last night's
undercover operations should send a clear message that we will not
tolerate these behaviors [that] deteriorate our neighborhoods and
quality of life," Camden Mayor Dana Redd said.