In a press conference this afternoon, Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans announced the Detroit Police Department’s new undercover initiative, “Heroin Express,” that has cut down on the number of suburban residents purchasing drugs in the city.
In Detroit, where it is only a civil infraction if an individual is caught with minor drug possession, investigators have been seizing vehicles as a part of a drug bust under the nuisance abatement ordinance to deter suburban drug users from coming to the city for the last decade.
However, investigators recently found an increase in the number of suburban residents using the Gratiot bus line to purchase drugs at drug houses, mostly heroin in the Gratiot Avenue corridor to avoid their vehicles being seized, which can result in thousands of dollars in fines in order to get their car back. Some are traveling as far away as New Baltimore.
During the first two days of the operation, Detroit police who received help from Eastpointe, Roseville, Clinton Township, Fraser and Shelby Township as well as the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, made 28 felony arrests, 16 misdemeanor arrests and seized four vehicles.
According to police, they are making many arrests on the north side of Eight Mile Road, where minor drug possession is a felony in most suburban communities. Of the recreational drug users arrested in the city, Chief Warren stated that roughly half of them do not reside in the city.
“These recreational drug users destroy the quality of life in Detroit neighborhoods and often commit crimes in their own communities to get drug money,” Evans said.
Police are using information they obtain from the suspects to provide information on who is operating the drug houses.
“The idea is to shut down the supply-and- demand sides of the equation,” he said.
Police are also monitoring other bus lines.