www.nola.com/news/t-p/metro/index.ssf?/base/news-15/1152685594130100.xml&coll=1 5 men arrested as police raid Algiers complex Bust turns up drugs, powerful assault rifle Wednesday, July 12, 2006 By Trymaine Lee Acting on a tip, a New Orleans police SWAT team trapped an attempted murder suspect in Algiers' Fischer public housing complex and ran into one of the most dangerous weapons on the streets: the Chinese- and Russian-made SKS rifle. Police arrested Anthony Thomas, 18, who is suspected of gunning down a man in April, as he was hanging out with a group in which another man was carrying the SKS. Equipped with a folding bayonet and armor-piercing rounds, the rifle is a cheap and highly effective weapon -- the predecessor of the AK-47 -- that can blast through engine blocks as easily as it can bones, said Louis Faust, one of nearly 20 NOPD tactical officers who arrested five people, including Thomas. Police got a tip from an informant about 1 p.m. that Thomas, suspected in an April shooting in the 2300 block of Murl Street in Algiers, was seen with a group of men at Fischer. The SWAT team crept into a courtyard at the complex in the 2000 block of Leboeuf Street and the men loitering, one brazenly holding the SKS, NOPD Lt. Dwayne Scheuremann said. The team set upon the group of five, who took off running. Soon, the man with the rifle tossed it along with a stash of crack cocaine, Scheuremann said. Another man in the group ditched a .45 caliber pistol and two bundles of heroin, he said. All five men were arrested. Thomas, who had a pending warrant, was booked Monday with two counts of illegally carrying a weapon, possession of obliterated serial number, drug possession and resisting an officer. NOPD did not release the charges for the other four men. Scheuremann said drug dealers and a weapon like an SKS are a dangerous mix. The SKS sells for as little as $100 in the streets and is highly accurate, Faust said. And the high-caliber ammunition it uses is meant for maximum bodily damage. Faust said the steel core bullets used in an SKS strike the body then follow bone, so a bullet can "enter your shoulder and come out of your toe." "You can see what these officers face every day," Deputy Chief John Bryson said, standing over the guns and drugs seized during Tuesday's arrests. Scheuremann said many drug dealers have returned to the Fischer complex to sell heroin, which he says has emerged as the most popular drug in that section of the city. In a Fischer courtyard, police said the ground is littered with bullets where people either were exchanging gunfire or shooting up an abandoned car they found pocked with bullet holes. "What you see here is not just in the Fischer," Scheurmann said, pointing to the SKS. "The shame of it is there are a lot of good people out there who see people with weapons like this, and they're scared. With drug dealers out with these, what can they do?"