COLLINGDALE When a phone seized during a morning drug sweep began ringing and interrupting his news conference, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan didn't skip a beat.
"I don't know if we should answer it, but I can tell you we will investigate that to see if somebody's calling right now to make a purchase of some of these illegal drugs," he said.
While looking over a table full of confiscated narcotics, weapons, cash, and phones, Whelan on Thursday announced the arrest of 18 people in a morning sweep in Collingdale Borough after a three-month investigation.
The 31/2-hour sweep began just after 6 a.m.
Fourteen men and three women were arrested on drug charges, and one person was picked up on an outstanding domestic warrant.
The raid was dubbed "My Block" for the term the alleged dealers used to refer to their territories.
Some of the arrests were made at two homes on Lincoln Avenue, Whelan said.
He called the detained occupants of the houses "warring parties" who were in a territorial battle.
Police had documented recent violent behavior - including shootings - at both houses, he said.
Seized in the raid were three handguns; a shotgun; 1,000 counterfeit prescription slips; $2,000 in cash; heroin paraphernalia; cocaine; marijuana; and prescription pills, Whelan said.
Several cellphones were confiscated and will be analyzed further.
"The cellphone is a great tool to collect evidence," Whelan said. Information garnered from the devices eventually may lead to other arrests, he said.