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12 drug arrests surprise neighbors

A day after police rounded up 12 people on drug charges during an investigation at Westgate Mobile Home Park, few in the complex knew it had happened.

"I didn't know a thing about it," said Joe Lane as he walked quickly through rain Thursday at the park at 14099 S Belcher Road. "I don't know anything about any drug dealing going on here. It's always pretty quiet."

A neighbor walking with him echoed his surprise that residents had been arrested after a two-month drug investigation.

A sign at the park entrance announces that park management has a "zero tolerance" policy regarding drugs. A Largo police substation is in the park.

But patrol officers noticed a drug problem there, leading to a two-month investigation, said Largo police Lt. Carla Boudrot. With cooperation and assistance from park management, undercover officers set up an operation in the park.

Boudrot said street level amounts of drugs, mostly marijuana, were bought by detectives during the investigation. Eight of the 12 people arrested lived in the park. Another person arrested was a park security guard.

"Most of them were living in the park and selling drugs in the park," Boudrot said. "At the time we did the investigation, drugs were readily available in the area."

The 12 arrests involved 36 charges. Police are looking for five more suspects, including a juvenile who lives at the park, which has 260 mobile home sites.

"Residents didn't know anything about it," said Nick Weis, field supervisor for the park's owner. "We supplied the police with the resources they needed to clean up the community, and we'll do it again."