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"Operation Heatwave" rounds up drug suspects in Tarpon Springs

Rodain Dalley, front, charged with possession of a controlled substance and sale and possession within a 1,000 feet of a place of worship, and Michael Tsilianos, charged with two counts of trafficking in oxycodone, are transferred Thursday from the Tarpon Springs Police Department into a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office transport van during Operation Heatwave.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Rodain Dalley, front, charged with possession of a controlled substance and sale and possession within a 1,000 feet of a place of worship, and Michael Tsilianos, charged with two counts of trafficking in oxycodone, are transferred Thursday from the Tarpon Springs Police Department into a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office transport van during Operation Heatwave.

TARPON SPRINGS — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies and Tarpon Springs police put the heat on street-level drug dealers Thursday, authorities said.

The two agencies teamed up for "Operation Heatwave" to round up about two dozen people facing felony charges for sales and possession of cocaine, hydrocodone or oxycodone, said Tarpon Springs police spokeswoman Lt. Barb Templeton.

"It's kind of appropriate today," Templeton said, "not only because of the weather but because they wanted to put some pressure on the street-level sales and possession."

Templeton said the investigation began about two months ago and is a collaboration between the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and the Tarpon Springs Police Department, which has a detective assigned to the Sheriff's Office's narcotics task force.

During the investigation, undercover detectives bought drugs from street-level dealers, much of it cocaine, according to the Sheriff's Office.

By 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the task force had taken 11 people into custody, including one they weren't searching for, Templeton said.

"He wasn't even on the list, but he must have thought he was because when deputies approached him, he rammed one of their vehicles," she said.

The team planned on looking for the other suspects until late Thursday, Templeton said.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

"Operation Heatwave" rounds up drug suspects in Tarpon Springs 08/19/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 19, 2010 9:47pm]
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