Police roundup suspects in Operation Pitchfork - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Police roundup suspects in Operation Pitchfork

Dozens of Memphis police officers hit the streets Thursday searching for wanted drug dealers in a sweep dubbed 'Operation Pitchfork."

Memphis organized crime officers served warrants on 50 suspected drug dealers and one juvenile in the early morning round up.  Late Thursday, 23 of those suspects were behind bars.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin expressed frustration over repeat offenders that keep getting back out on the streets.

"How many times are hard working officers of the Memphis Police Department going to arrest and arrest and arrest the same suspects over and over again?" Godwin asked.

Investigators said more than half of the suspects in Thursdays sweep were gang members, and many were repeat offenders.

One suspect, Levester Grayer, was a Gangster Disciple with eight violent felonies and 19 misdemeanors on his record. 

"We're going to continue to do the best we can with the laws we have. But the fact is we need tougher laws in this state," District Attorney Bill Gibbons said.

Gibbons said criminals are serving only 30 percent of their sentences, effectively eliminated stiff sentences as a deterrent.

Police also seized 14 vehicles used to transport illegal narcotics during the sweep.  Late Thursday afternoon, they were still working to round up the rest of the suspects that were indicted earlier this week.

Click here to e-mail Janice Broach.

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