Thursday
April 12, 2012

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Kingston Police recruits National Guard for quantum leap in gang crackdown



KINGSTON – Kingston Police have called in the troops for technical assistance in “Operation Clean Sweep,” the largest gang crackdown in Ulster County history.

The New York National Guard Counter Drug Task Force team arrived Thursday morning to deploy specialized high-tech equipment in the parking lot of Kingston police headquarters. Their truck-sized device scanned impounded automobiles seized during a citywide bust made two weeks ago.

Over 100 suspects were rounded up by multiple agencies, along with 16 vehicles, during the wee hours of Sunday, April 1. Arrested individuals had been under investigation for several months, then secretly indicted on felony drug, weapons, and assault charges by a special grand jury.

Police Chief Egidio Tinti said they were looking for “any unique areas that can be used for hidden compartments.”

Tinti acknowledged the equipment emits dangerous gamma radiation. “It is minimal, but there are precautions to make it safe for use here.” Orange pylons were arranged around the area to keep unauthorized people away.

Police guarantee that the technology isn't being misused to invade privacy. “Some people felt that it was violating constitutional rights,” the chief said. “We try to make sure they understood that this is on vehicles already seized by the police department,” he said. “This is the follow-up, after a criminal investigation has been conducted.”

Detective Eric Van Allen added that the vehicles scrutinized were all used in the process of narcotics transactions and possession. He said police hope to intercept dangerous weapons and narcotics, before the vehicles are put back into circulation.



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