DANVILLE, Va. -

Mary Murphey has lived in this same house since the 1940's. That's when she had neighbors. Now she's stuck between two empty homes and feels unsafe.

"People just go across your yard. You don't know who they is and I just don't say nothing to them," Murphey said.

Most nights she notices people around her home that shouldn't be there. She thinks they are drug dealers.

"It's bound to be. It ain't nothing no good. Because who would be out there going through there at night and sitting around like that," Murphey said.

The streets nearby now have fewer drug dealers on them.

Danville Police, law enforcement in Southern Virginia and federal agents spent a year targeting drug and gang related activity in and around Danville. Police in the investigation, Operation Clean Sweep, arrested nearly 50 drug dealers.

"The common denominator was drug crimes, but all of the crimes that are related to the drug crimes, there was counterfeiting, there were burglaries, there were assaults, there were shootings and there were murders," Broadfoot said.

There were more than 64 drug and firearm offenses as part of Operation Clean Sweep.

Broadfoot says most of those drug crimes happened in low income neighborhoods where there are more empty, blighted homes than inhabited ones.

Insiders led police to one gang that was a root of Danville drug deals and a target of the operation, the Worsham Street Taliban. Broadfoot says it's not a terrorist group.


"That particular gang was responsible for a number of crimes in the city," Broadfoot said.
"It's been around for a while and we've pretty much dismantled it, but there are some folks who claim membership in it."

It's a victory but Broadfoot says there is more work to do. He says there are plenty more gangs and drug dealers in Danville that his officers want stopped.