Suburban residents ‘lifeblood’ of Camden’s illegal drug trade, police chief charges

Camden’s police chief says that city’s drug trade is being fueled by suburbanites. In a recent crackdown, most of the people trying to buy drugs came from outside the struggling city.

Camden is well-known for its crime rates — hovering near the top of plenty of lists that make the city sound frightening. Police Chief John Scott Thomson said the recent arrests show the scope of the problem the city faces.

“We conducted this operation in the Lanning Square section of South Camden and we ended up arresting close to 50 individuals — it was 49 total — coming to buy what they believed to be heroin,” Thomson said.

“Over 70 percent of them were not from the city of Camden. They were from surrounding suburbs. Suburbanites have become the lifeblood to our illegal drug operations that occur in this city,” he said.

In addition to making arrests, Camden police also recently took a stab at cutting down on the drug trade through the mail, sending warning letters to the owners of vehicles that participated in suspicious activity near one of Camden’s open-air drug markets.

Thomson would not say Thursday if any of those arrested had been mailed a warning.

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