'Operation Happy Holidays' busts suspected drug dealers

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @NSwabyKing5

KING5.com

Posted on November 20, 2013 at 9:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 20 at 11:33 PM

Through the window of the shoe store where she has worked for a couple of years, Hailey McLean has an up-close view of Westlake Park.

“People are drinking and with drinking comes violence and sometimes fighting,” she said

But she says lately it’s been better.

“It is nice to be able to walk outside and not have to worry or look over your shoulder,” she said.

Next door, business owner Sheila Locke agrees

“I think this week alone is probably the first week no one’s offered to sell me weed because usually you get two to three offers every day you walk to work,” said Locke.

So what changed?

Before the Macy's star is lit and holiday shoppers fill the streets, Seattle police worked to deliver what some consider an early Christmas present.

“I heard that they were doing undercover,” said McLean.

The rumor is true. Seattle Police call it Operation Happy Holidays. For months they targeted gang members and drug dealers in the Westlake area and it led to 31 suspects in custody.

Police did it by documenting drug deals. Undercover officers were able to buy cocaine, crack, and pills before making arrests.

Now some sought-after suspects are behind bars and employees like McLean can enjoy a better view during the busy holiday season.

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