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MPD Bust Nets $7.1M In Drugs, 160 Guns

MPD Chief: Undercover officers are 'heroes'

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The 160 guns confiscating included an AK-47 rifle with a drum magazine.
Patrick Madden
The 160 guns confiscating included an AK-47 rifle with a drum magazine.

D.C. Police say a year-long sting operation at a fake rap music studio has netted more than $7 million worth of illegal guns and drugs and led to the arrest of 70 people.

Many of the people arrested were connected to a Mexican drug cartel, according to MPD Chief Cathy Lanier.  The seized guns and drugs were put on display Monday at MPD headquarters, including assault weapons, shotguns, pistols and large bags of methamphetamine and marijuana.

"Anytime you can have 160 guns and $7 million worth of drugs taken off the street – I don’t think you can compare that to anything we have done before," says Lanier.

MPD partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to carry out the operation. The ATF agent-in-charge Rich Marianos says the sting helped authorities nab some "high-level targets." They did not disclose the location if the fake rap studio where the bust took place.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier calls the men who went undercover "heroes." Posing as executives at the fake studio, the undercover officers put the word out that they were looking for more than music; they were in the market for drugs and guns. 

To carry off the sting, the officers not only had to deal with alleged drug traffickers who routinely boasted of shooting police officers, but they also had to know their way around the music studio, Lanier says. 

"They have to be credible to pull off what they do,  and I might add, you have to have nerves of steel to do what they do," she says. "It's not an easy job and not everyone can do it."

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