39 arrested in operation targeting ‘open-air drug market’ in Rome

ROME, Ga. — A police task force aimed at protecting senior citizens served arrest and search warrants at several locations in South Rome, which has resulted in 39 arrests and 40 firearms seized so far this year.

Operation Save Our Seniors (S.O.S.) has been in action for several weeks.

“Operation S.O.S. is a response to the distress call from the senior community of South Rome who were pinned down by drug activity and violent crime,” the Rome Police Department said in a statement.

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According to Rome police, they found the streets of South Rome jammed with people on the weekends and afternoons who were using drugs and soliciting illicit activity.

Officers have also observed homes peppered with bullet holes, windows boarded up, and drug operations that had taken over abandoned homes and vehicles.

“The vibe from the open-air drug market was unfazed by police presence. On numerous occasions, the activity would briefly stop until patrols passed by, but then return to normal after police turned the corner,” Rome police said in a statement.

Police said drug dealers “brazenly walked the street and pointed guns at residents.”


Senior residents in the area told police they felt as though they were held hostage in their homes for fear of being assaulted or killed by stray gunplay.

The multi-jurisdictional police task force identified drive-through drug sales in some locations with dealers working from parked cars, as well as multiple houses used to sell drugs.

Rome police said that since January, Operation S.O.S. has served seven search warrants (five houses and two cars) which resulted in 39 arrests. 40 guns have been recovered.

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The task force also included contributions from the following agencies: Northwest Georgia Elder Abuse Task Force; Floyd 911; Rome-Floyd SWAT; Floyd County Sheriff’s Office; Georgia Information Sharing Analysis Center; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms; Bartow County SWAT; Cartersville Police SWAT; and Georgia State Patrol SWAT, Aviation and Patrol.