Wayne County Sheriff's Office, feds conduct raids for drug suspects in senior housing buildings

Authorities say suspects took over senior homes, sold narcotics from them

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor, Ashlee Baracy
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DETROIT - Dozens were expected to be arrested Monday during raids on senior housing buildings in Detroit -- where authorities said drug deals were being done.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office, along with the ATF, US Attorney's Office, Wayne State University Public Safety Department, Department of Housing and the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, are executing search warrants at several buildings in downtown Detroit.

The suspects in the "Save our Seniors" operation are accused of intimidating residents and taking over their apartments to sell narcotics.

One of the buildings raided was Orchestra Towers in the city's Midtown area.

"I imagine they had a few people in there they thought were selling drugs and they put them on the list, or reported them to the police," said Cornel Brown, a resident of Orchestra Towers. 

Police said the community has been filing drug complaints with the Detroit Housing Commission since last year. So, Wayne County placed undercover narcotic officers in the building. They made a variety of narcotic purchases ranging from marijuana to cocaine and heroin.

Wayne County Under Sheriff Daniel Pfannes explained, "Over the course of time we've established enough investigative information to put together a series of warrants. We are looking to apprehend about 40 something individuals today. The vast majority of state felony charges, the remainder on federal charges."

The seniors were relieved after being victims of intimidation.

"These people took advantage of force and coercion to work their ways in these individuals homes and basically told them, 'I'm going to sell drugs out of your apartment and there is nothing you can do about it'" said Pfannes.

More than 20 people were arrested in this raid, ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s.

Authorities also swept through City View Towers on Chrysler.  

"The senior population is a vulnerable population and people take advantage of that. They know where the weaknesses are they're going to pray on those individuals. That's why it's so important for people to step up and notify law enforcement when things like this are transpiring," added Pfannes.

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