BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A drug bust nets a huge haul. Baltimore police say they've seized $3 million in heroin and cash--all from one suspect.
Alex DeMetrick has more on how the bust went down.
It's a different approach to policing, one where the suspect was given the opportunity to go straight or go to jail.
When police pulled back the sheet holding the evidence, it even impressed the news media.
"That's a lot of money. A lot of drugs," a photographer said.
The bust collected just under $900,000 in cash and 11.5 kilograms of heroin, equaling $3 million.
"That also equates to violence, shootings, murders on our streets," said Baltimore City police commissioner Anthony Batts.
And before his arrest Thursday night in West Baltimore, police earlier gave Shawn Antonio Hearn a choice.
"Change your ways or we will come after you," said Jerry Rodriguez, deputy police commissioner.
It's part of the Operation Ceasefire program.
Before building a case that leads to arrest, hundreds of potential narcotic dealers have been contacted by police.
"We brought those individuals in," Rodriguez said. "We identified to them what we knew about their criminal enterprise" and offered a deal.
Give up the drug business that brings in cash, even take advantage of city services to get out of the life or eventually face a life behind bars.
"We want them to go straight," Batts said.
Police allege Hearn ignored that chance, and the ceasefire team built the case that brought the arrest and seizure.
Police also say it's a warning.
"This is an example of what will happen," Rodriguez said.
Baltimore police stress there is still time for other ceasefire targets to give up crime.
"If you don't get out of the business we will grind you into the ground," Batts said.
Baltimore police say some have taken up the offer to give up crime but did not release a number.
The ceasefire program is focused on West Baltimore, where police say there has been a 47 percent reduction in the homicide rate.
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