Some of the dozens of people arrested during a massive police sweep in Roxbury Tuesday morning were offered a chance at a cease-fire and to stop the drug dealing and violence they were allegedly involved in. But they rejected that chance and were rounded up by police instead.
"Last month, well before this morning's sweep, multi-disciplinary cease fire teams from the Boston police engaged many of these defendants in conversation," said Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley. "They were offered every service they might need to lay down their arms, renounce their rivalries and stem the flow of illegal drugs … into their neighborhoods. To put it bluntly, they rejected the carrot and [Tuesday] they get the stick."
Thirty-four people were arrested Tuesday and more were being sought for arrest after the early morning raids that were part of a four-month long investigation authorities dubbed "Operation H." The enforcement effort targeted 75 people in an effort to suppress violence in an area known for gang activity.
The target area was Roxbury's H-Block, consisting of streets near Humboldt Avenue. The investigation included controlled drug buys from more than 60 people, "extensive surveillance" and two months of grand jury testimony, authorities said.
"These individuals were openly dealing illegal drugs and engaged in gun violence leaving many of the good residents of the neighborhood too afraid to call police or walk the streets near their own homes," said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.
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Conley said that since the start of the year, there have been three fatal shootings, 17 calls for shots fired and multiple non-fatal shootings in the area being targeted by police.
"It shouldn’t matter whether you live on Boylston Street or Humboldt Avenue. Every person in Boston deserves a safe, stable neighborhood in which to live and raise a family," Conley said.
Davis said he hopes the arrests will lead to information on unsolved crimes that took place in the area including the shooting of Gabriel Clarke, the 13-year-old shot while walking to choir practice on Humboldt Avenue in January.
While the dozens of people arrested were not a part of one gang, Davis said they were involved in gang activity. He also said that he hopes the arrests sends a message ahead of the summer months, which typically bring an increase in violence.
"I think it's really important to make a statement before the summer that this activity is not acceptable and we believe that these arrests are going to keep the [violent crime] numbers down as we head into the summer months," Davis said.
In another operation Tuesday afternoon, police said they made arrests and seized nearly $100,000 in cash, ammunition and a pound of crack cocaine.
"This has been a very productive day for the Boston Police Department," said Davis.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.