Operation “Summer Heat” leads to 42 arrests in Anchorage

An Anchorage Police Department patrol car in June, 2019 (Photo: Zachariah Hughes – Alaska Public Media, Anchorage)

Law enforcement officials flooded Anchorage earlier this month in a crime sweep called Operation Summer Heat that led to dozens of arrests. The Anchorage Police Department said the broad effort focused on drugs, guns, and violent crime.

In a media release Tuesday morning, APD announced that during two days in July, the crime sweep resulted in 42 arrests. According to Lieutenant Jack Carson, who commanded the operation, law enforcement agents stopped vehicles, observed drug buys, and tracked down individuals with outstanding warrants.

“The focus of Operation Summer Heat was getting the personnel to do the operation. And not focusing on just one thing, going around and focusing on violent crime, drug crime, and overall crime suppression within the Anchorage Bowl,” Carson said.

According to APD, many of the people arrested had lengthy criminal records, often with violent felonies and outstanding warrants. Police also seized a large volume of illegal drugs. Some of it was intercepted through the mail system. But a good deal of it came from individual busts. In total, APD said the operation turned up a pound of methamphetamine and nearly five pounds of heroin.

“Generally heroin is sold on the street in a tenth of a gram,” Carson said. “So that’s about 27,000 street-level doses that we stopped from hitting the street.”

At its current staffing level, APD is nowhere near capable of indefinitely maintaining a crime sweep like this one. On a given day, there are about 30 officers patrolling Anchorage. Carson said operations like this are possible because coordination and planning effectively quadrupled the department’s manpower to 120 agents for two days.

“If we could have 90 additional officers on the street every day it would be amazing,” Carson said, but noted that for federal and state partners “they can’t do that every day.”

Law enforcement staged a similar effort last year, Operation Midnight Sun, which led to almost 58 felony charges. In both instances APD worked with the Alaska State troopers, FBI, DEA, ATF, and other agencies.

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Zachariah Hughes reports on city & state politics, arts & culture, drugs, and military affairs in Anchorage and South Central Alaska. @ZachHughesAK About Zachariah

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