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Last May, Boston police conducted a massive sweep of men and women they described as drug offenders who had been terrorizing the streets of Roxbury, the culmination of a five-month investigation dubbed Operation H that officials said would send a chilling message to anyone else looking to wreak havoc.
“This operation demonstrates the Police Department’s commitment to getting dangerous criminals and drugs off the streets,” Commissioner Edward F. Davis said at a carefully staged press conference at police headquarters, where he was flanked by supervisors from the gang and drug units. “Today’s arrests will give residents back their neighborhoods.”
But Operation H, named for the H-block section of Roxbury where the arrests were targeted, does not appear to have had a significant role in tamping down crime in that area of the city. Forty of the 85 people arrested were quickly released on personal recognizance or given bail as low as $150, and those ordered held on higher sums were bailed out within weeks of their arrests.