An unordinary drug arrest in an ordinary neighborhood
by Annette Birch
Police has indicted 34 persons on charges of selling heroin, cocaine and other drug throughout the greater D.C. area. One of them, Ricky Canty, 27, was arrested near Dupont Circle on Nov. 30. He is accused of participating in an illegal drug operation in the Georgia Avenue corridor, 17th and Euclid Streets NW, the 1600 block of Fuller Street NW and several other areas in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Ricky Canty is presently being detained and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. William Miller, spokesman from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to give further information on the case because of the pending prosecution.
Drugs are a problem, but on a smaller scale
Ricky Canty was picked up by the police at 1600 block of V-Street, a residential area surrounded by the local police station and embassies. However, arrest records from the third district of the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia, which spans from Georgetown to Chinatown, showed that drug arrests in other places of the third police district are not uncommon. In the last month, arrests for drug-related crimes constituted 22 percent of arrests for that district.
Most of the arrests are possession or distribution of smaller amounts of drugs, mostly marijuana, but also smaller amounts of cocaine and heroin.
Marco Santiago, who is spokesman for the third district in the Metropolitan Police District of Columbia, confirmed that this is a general trend in the third district.
“A lot of it is a little bit of crack, marijuana and 1 percent of meth,” Santiago said. Exact figures were unavailable because the police department is currently reviewing its records on drug-related offenses.
Drug crimes move westwards
However, even small drug-related crimes are much more likely to take place farther east at 11th and 12th Street. Crime statistics from the police showed that crimes near the Dupont Circle area are much more likely to be theft and larceny.
Kishan Putta, newly elected member for the Advisory Neighborhood Board 2B, a government group made up of elected neighborhood representatives, agreed that the Dupont Circle area is fundamentally a very safe place. However, he also indicated that the new construction area at 14th and U-Street, an area close to Dupont Circle, were more likely to bring crime closer to Dupont Circle.
“There are many new people coming in and as there are many longtime residents there is a potential for conflicts. The new residents are buying old buildings and making them better, but at the same time there are also low-income citizens and they should co-exist together,” he said.
Santiago said that revitalization efforts would ultimately help reduce crime in the area, but in the short term they might lead to more problems.
“The baggage of the revitalization of 14th and U-Street is prostitution and drugs, because a lot of construction workers frequent these,” he said.