Philadelphia officials say they hope arrests made Wednesday will make a major dent in the local drug trade.
The element of surprise works best, officials say. Suspects were caught barefoot or in the middle of a smoke. In total, 18 people were picked up from residences across Philadelphia.
"Eighteen people in a month and a half," said Sistrunk. "That tells you definitely we are fighting against the drug levels. Hopefully from here we will go up the ladder to get to your more prominent drug dealers who are providing your lower level with the large amounts."
The chief says this has taken a month and a half because that is how long it has taken to get the the point of a mass pick-up. As is common in drug investigations, the police department used undercover officers and informants to build as many cases as possible.
"They are buying everything from pills, marijuana, crack, meth," said Sistrunk. "And once they make the buys and they get done with the investigation, they issue the warrants for the different people. Then we go out in the field and try to locate them and bring them in."
The chief said the goal is to make the people buying and selling the drugs to either think twice or push them out of town. He says the stakes are simply too high.
"Of course, drugs affect everything from your children to your adult level. And the more drugs you can take off the street and the money you can take out of their pockets, the damage we can do to them," said Sistrunk. "That will let them know we are serious about coming after you, if you are going to do drugs. And we want to get you in the jail house."
Sistrunk says these cases should be presented to the September grand Jury. But he adds that new investigations have already started, and there's no telling when the early morning knock could come to someone else's door.