Twenty-nine people were charged with trying to buy heroin in Willimantic over the weekend as part of a stepped-up effort by police to combat the town’s drug problem. Only two of the people were from Windham.

First Selectman Michael Paulhus said he wants people to be more wary about coming to town to buy heroin.

“Stop coming into our town to buy drugs. That’s the message,” Paulhus told The Hartford Courant on Monday. “We’re out there, and we’re going to be out there in force.”

Police Lt. Mary Beth Curtis told the Norwich Bulletin that the sting operation was partially in response to concerns by town officials and residents after a five-day series in the Courant described the scope of the heroin problem in Willimantic. She also said the same kind of sting operation is used routinely by officers.

A detective posing as a drug dealer camped in the middle of Brooks Street Friday from 11:54 a.m. to 2:04 p.m. and Saturday from 1:13 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. selling fake heroin in plastic baggies.

Heroin customers approached the officer and bartered for the bags that mostly sold for $10 apiece, police said. Then, as soon as the buyers drove out of sight, a police “take-down team” stopped the cars and arrested the customers on charges of criminal attempt to possess narcotics.

–Associated Press