'Operation Summer Camp' drug bust sweeps through Leesburg

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LEESBURG, Fla. —

Nearly 20 suspected drug dealers are off Leesburg streets Friday night.

Officers are searching for nearly a dozen more.

Only Eyewitness News got to ride along with Leesburg police as they worked to make the busts Friday.

It's all part of "Operation Summer Camp," an investigation that's been months in the making.

The raids started at 5:30 a.m.

Police said they were hunting down 32 known street-level drug dealers, and said they have found and arrested half of them.

"The crimes related to narcotics, to gambling, to attempted murder," said Officer Ricardo Duenas with Leesburg police.

Cops say picking up as many of the suspects as possible will help take the wind out of the sails of the local illegal drug trade, and will help cut down on crimes that are related to it.

Authorities said break-ins in homes across the city, and burglaries and robberies of local businesses can often be directly tied to drug dealers and users.

Police said a suspect known to be at one home that was raided must have slipped out before police arrived, but many were arrested, and officers seized drugs and weapons.

"We've been able to recover a lot of narcotics in various locations. We recovered two loaded handguns and body armor," Duenas said.

Police said they received a lot of tips that helped lead to the sweep.

Police said they're still hauling suspects in and the number stands at around 16 arrested.