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DC Cops To Stop Targeting Low-Level Drug Dealers

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday that the D.C.’s law enforcement officers are going to start focusing their efforts on drug suppliers and away from low-level players.

“It is my duty to provide the safest and healthiest environment for our residents and visitors. We will do that by innovating and adapting, and providing our public safety officials with the tools they need to get the job done,” Bowser said at Monday press conference.

She said the city’s police department will shift its current format of seven different vice units into a single, citywide drug unit and institute a new “Criminal Interdiction Unit” to handle more serious crimes.

Bowser was joined at the podium by Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier who said the new drug enforcement strategy will allow her to crack down on suppliers who create most of the problems with drugs in the city.

“We will shift away from outdated tactics focused on low-level users and target the suppliers who feed dangerous narcotics into the communities,” Lanier said.

Bowser and Lanier said the drug market in the city has moved away from the open-air street dealing of the 1980s and ’90s, and into more high-tech area where people can simply buy synthetic drugs on the Internet or in liquor stores.

The city has seen a major spike in the use of synthetic drugs over the past few weeks, with eleven coming in a single day, and dozens of people being taken to the hospital for overdoses.

The synthetic drugs, with strange names like K2, Scooby Snax, Bizzaro and Spice, are dangerous hallucinogens, Bowser said, and can lead to death.

This week, Bowser will introduce legislation in the city council that will greatly increase the penalties for people caught selling the synthetic drugs.

The “Sale of Synthetic Drugs Emergency Amendment Act of 2015” gives the Chief of Police the authority to close down a business found selling synthetic drugs for up to 96 hours and would fine the business $10,000 for its first violation.

The second time a business is caught selling synthetic drugs, it will be shut down for 30 days, fined $20,000 and could possibly have its business license revoked.

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