Troopers and Richmond Police team up for drugs, weapons sweep

Posted at 11:04 PM, Aug 10, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-10 23:33:58-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR)- Getting the guns off the streets before they're used in violent crimes, snatching dope dealers before they can push their poison:

it's part of the mission of a seasonal strike team in the city.

Friday night it didn't take us long to see how it works.

Sometimes a veteran officer’s best crime-fighting tool is instinct.  "I think there's something in that van,” said Maj. Scott Booth.  “ I told Mitch to get the dog on it."

Officers pulled over a van for a traffic violation and then offered an exercise in how they score a bust.  First, a trooper K-9 alerted the van  that drugs were inside.  Sure enough, behind a panel, officers found a sandwich bag full of marijuana dime bags, which means the person responsible could face a distribution charge.

Then, one of the men they pulled over appeared worried about more than drugs as a dog alerted his friends to the man’s crotch area and then watched as police pulled another bag of apparent contraband from his waistband. 

That’s what Richmond’s “Felons and Firearms Initiative” is all about: getting the guns and drugs off the streets, thereby eliminating elements of what can lead to violent crime.

"Between 45 and 90 days in the summertime in areas where we see crime, we'll team up with the Virginia State Police,” said Booth.

Troopers and city police say so far, they’ve confiscated 39 illegal weapons and significant quantities of cocaine, marijuana and heroin.

They say teaming up together makes the sweep much more efficient.

As the evening yielded results, Booth said teamwork brought out the best in each force.  “City officers have that urban knowledge and know who the players are, so to speak,” he said.  “And troopers come in with the traffic stop knowledge.   Sometimes they know laws that the city cop may not even think of."

Later Friday, police said the suspect in the car stop was carrying more than an ounce of marijuana.  They say a different stop on the Southside produced a weapon.