MIAMI ( – Before the first school bus pulled up Thursday morning, South Miami Police and federal investigators had 12 men under arrest, all accused of selling drugs on the streets of South Miami.

“If we don’t pick them up today; we’ll catch them down the road,” said Chief Orlando Martinez De Castro of South Miami Police. “But, we try to do a sweep first and get the majority out of the street at this time.”

Thursday morning’s sweep was called “Operation Early Deep Fried Turkey.” It was the end result of a two month investigation in which undercover officers bought drugs from dealers on the street and then tracked them down to their homes.

The idea was to hit crime before the holidays.

“Crime goes up when Thanksgiving comes around, the holidays come around,” said Chief Martinez De Castro. “So this is an impact just before that.”

The story is part of CBS4 News’ Project Broken Window, an effort to highlight those who clean up our communities.

Those who live in the area raided Thursday morning said they were grateful for the effort.

“We welcome it; there’s no respect,” said Jean Larkin, a neighbor. “The drug dealers, they’re all over. They sell in front of the children, the elderly or anybody and they smoke; they sit out there and they smoke. Everybody is aware of it. Nobody wants to own up to it.”

Investigators targeted 17 alleged dealers. Ten were caught early and two called in to police and said they were turning themselves in.


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