‘It sickens me:’ Alderman calls for action after man accused of dealing pure fentanyl arrested in his district

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan is demanding change, saying drugs have recently fueled problems in his district. He said he's outraged after a major bust this week.

"I have watched portions of my aldermanic district deteriorate -- and it sickens me," said Donovan.

Donovan said a dealer was selling pure fentanyl near 27th and Mineral before being busted on Tuesday, July 17. Before the arrest, Donovan said the dealer would sell near a Milwaukee landmark.

Bob Donovan

"Normally would be selling this right across from the Domes. He was selling fentanyl right out on the street," said Donovan.

Donovan said he's calling for police and the courts to be more aggressive, after years of leniency.

"For years it was neglected. These bad guys have gotten a hold in this area," said Donovan.

Anna Harris said news of a drug dealer being arrested near her home is not surprising.

"I ain't got time for that. I don't like it at all, but what can I do about it? Nothing," said Harris.

Neighbors in Donovan's district are joining him in calling for change.

"We see them all the time. You know? Especially like 2 o'clock in the morning," said Donald Osep.

Alderman Donovan said illegal drugs are strangling neighborhoods.

"We still have a lot of good citizens who demand better and deserve better," said Donovan.

Milwaukee police said the arrest happened around 2:45 p.m. on July 17 -- when "High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas" investigators arrested three suspects during a drug deal, while investigating a known offender. Officers recovered fentanyl, cash and other paraphernalia related to drug dealing. Charges are being referred to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office.

Meanwhile, Donovan issued this statement on Thursday as part of his call for action:

"On Tuesday I was informed that Milwaukee Police and HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) agents made a major drug bust of an individual who has been dealing pure fentanyl on the street in the area of S. Layton Blvd. and W. Mineral.

Fentanyl is poison that is killing drug users and seriously endangering officers who come into contact with it.  I have just one question for the mayor and for our former police chief (Ed Flynn): So when did the 8th Aldermanic District become the epicenter for drugs in Milwaukee?!

I place much of the blame on former MPD Chief Flynn, who simply refused to administer the resources necessary to fight drugs when the problem was first exploding. When so many of us were clamoring for more patrols and additional officers to fight the scourge, we got squat from Chief Flynn and Mayor Tom Barrett.

With no focus of needed manpower and resources to fight drugs on the near south side, the situation deteriorated in a fairly short amount of time. For those of us who fought for years to restore neighborhoods to the point where they were safe, this downturn in public safety and saturation of illegal drugs has been extremely painful and disheartening.

The drug problem has been fueling addicted panhandlers and prostitutes and so many other crime issues – all while Chief Flynn and Mayor Barrett did little or nothing to stop it. What we are witnessing is what happens when you neglect to address the incendiary nature of a drug epidemic. Crime explodes and neighborhoods literally get torn to pieces before our eyes.

The individual who was selling the fentanyl was doing so within a few blocks of four churches and two schools. I’m told his normal preferred peddling corner was 27th and Evergreen right next to a building housing retirees, and right across from the Domes, which attracts visitors from across the region and the state.

What a wonderful tourist attraction!"