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SPRINGFIELD - In a sweeping crackdown on crime, police arrested 50 people in less than 24 hours during "Operation Blue Heat."

The deployment, planned by Commissioner William J. Fitchet, started Friday morning and ended Saturday morning.

"The Springfield Police Department is putting on a full court press to combat crime throughout the city, to make life difficult for drug dealers, gang members, prostitutes and their 'johns,'" Sgt. John Delaney, Fitchet's executive aide, said in a statement.;" width=2 height=2>

High-crime areas were targeted, with officers focusing on drug dealers, gang members and prostitutes. Twenty-two individuals were arrested for prostitution and sexual conduct for pay, according to a Police Department press release.

Undercover female officers posed as prostitutes to nab "johns" wanting to buy sex, police said.

Five drug arrests were also made in the city's South End neighborhood, Belmont Avenue, Federal and Worthington streets. There also was an arrest for breaking and entering on Dwight Street extension in the South End.

Traffic citations also were issued, and drag racers were targeted in the evening, police said.

Delaney said the racers were forced out of the city, adding that there was an accident involving drag racers on Route 5 in West Springfield at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. West Springfield police did not have any information about the accident.

Police also made trespassing arrests and picked up individuals on warrants.

Delaney said "Operation Blue Heat" is the second part of "Operation Blue Knight," an initiative started this past summer in which officers went to neighborhoods to hear citizens' fears and concerns. Delaney said additional "Operation Blue Heats" will be scheduled in the coming months.

In a phone interview, Delaney said police ran out of jail cells because so many people were arrested. He said approximately 20 extra officers were out on the streets.

"Everywhere you went, you saw blue lights," Delaney said.

According to police, people arrested for sexual conduct for pay were Walter Ortiz, 68, of 274 Locust Ave., Springfield; Angel Pena, 19, of 35 Spring St., Springfield; Timothy D. Godbolt, 48, of 70 Chestnut St., Springfield; Anthony R. Valentine, 44, of 30 Martel St., Springfield; Joseph B. Cyr, 50, of 4022 Church St., Palmer; Em Hung Nguyen, 41, of 24 Herman St., Springfield; Edwin Dejesus, 35, of 5 Temple St., Springfield; Daniel James Quirk Jr., 58, of 278 East St., Chicopee; Ulises Ramirez, 57, of 321 Longhill St., Springfield; James Tracy Alexander, 45, of 80 Euclid Ave., Springfield; Nigel M. Torres, 25, of 32 Kenwood Park, Springfield; James A. Heath, 46, of 109 Oakland St., Springfield; and Ramon L. Guerra, 31, of 176 Belmont St., Springfield.

Arrested for prostitution were: Joann M. Mitchell, 42, of 34 Warner St., Springfield; Shanike Y. Roldan, 25, of 143 Maple St., Springfield; Tykiwa T. Lee, 37, of 51 Daytona St., Springfield; Elizabeth Serrano, 43, of 298 Oakland St., Springfield; Kerri L. Meneses, 35, of 769 Worthington St., Springfield; Deborah A. Jordan, 34, of 40 Windsor St., Springfield; Susan Z. Makkiay, 34, of 15 Regency Park Drive, Agawam; and Angela M. Roy, 42, of 419 Montcalm St., Chicopee, police said.

According to police, individuals arrested for marijuana possession with intent to distribute and violation of a drug free school zone were Jhamal Cruz, 20, of 221 Bay St., Springfield; and Springfield brothers Ernest S. Hughey, 25, of 16 Biron St., and Joseph A. Hughey, 26, of 47 Aster St. Joseph Hughey also was charged with disorderly conduct.

Gregory R. Krause, 34, of 155 Bell St., Springfield, was arrested for crack cocaine possession, police said.

Those arrested will be arraigned Tuesday in district court.

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