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Originally published June 10, 2010 at 11:06 AM | Page modified June 10, 2010 at 11:28 AM

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Nearly two dozen arrested in Pierce County in nationwide drug sweep

Police in Washington state arrested 23 people and seized more than 65 pounds of black-tar heroin as part of "Project Deliverance," a national effort to dismantle a Mexican drug-trafficking organization.

Police in Washington state arrested 23 people and seized more than 65 pounds of black-tar heroin as part of "Project Deliverance," a national effort to dismantle a Mexican drug-trafficking organization.

The drug-dealing organization used various runners working with a "dispatcher" to get drugs into the hands of customers, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Drug customers from Lewis, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and Grays Harbor counties would call and order drugs through the dispatcher.

They were then directed to an area of South Tacoma, where they would hook up with a drug runner, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release. Both would then drive to a residential neighborhood and make the drug transaction.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of drug proceeds was being shipped to Mexico in hidden compartments built into vehicles, the Attorney's Office said. Over the past few weeks, two cars were stopped and nearly $100,000 was seized.

"This investigation strikes a blow against a dangerous scourge in our communities," said U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan during a news conference Thursday morning. The 23 people arrested Wednesday were from Pierce County and Portland.

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