Author Topic: L.A. targets heroin trade  (Read 99 times)

Elano

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L.A. targets heroin trade
« on: November 29, 2007, 02:11:55 AM »

LAPD Officer Chris Jarvis looks at a 5th and Hill gang tag left on the wall of a parking lot. The gang has been identified as the major source of heroin in the downtown area.

Aimed at a notorious drug-dealing gang, the city also seeks to ban 'surrogate' sellers of heroin that allow gang members to evade arrest.

Los Angeles prosecutors stepped up efforts to combat open-air drug bazaars downtown, filing a court injunction that would bar gang members as well as a potentially broad category of unnamed "surrogates and associates" from congregating on streets in the central city.

The move marks a significant expansion of existing gang injunctions. It is expected to be controversial because it includes not only members of the 5th & Hill gang -- for decades the prime heroin supplier downtown -- but also anyone who has been arrested at least twice for possession for sale of the drug in the proposed enforcement area, which covers an area of 20 square blocks.

The injunction, which must be approved by a judge, lists the unnamed individuals as "sales surrogates and associates," and authorities say scores would be affected by the order.

Prosecutors said they took the action because the gang tends to use homeless people, teens and women to peddle drugs, allowing the gang to reap profits from a distance while evading arrest.

Skid row accounts for about 20% of all drug sales in the city, and officials have been trying to crack down as the area gentrifies with luxury lofts and trendy bars and eateries.

The LAPD over the last year has made about 2,000 drug-related arrests downtown, part of a major crackdown that included the addition of 50 officers patrolling the streets.

LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon said that as many as a third of the drug arrests involve heroin dealing, which is dominated by the 5th & Hill gang. Authorities estimate the gang has 150 members.

"They have pretty much had a monopoly on the heroin trade in the downtown area," Vernon said. "They are organized and disciplined, running their operation like a business, complete with shifts and a payment system based on flat rates and commissions."

Despite the increased police presence, some residents and merchants said they still see rampant drug use and dealing.

"Every day, through my car window, my office window and on the sidewalk as I walk these streets, I see people lying there from the effects of drugs. I see them not attending to their healthcare needs because of the drugs," said downtown resident Estela Lopez, executive director of the Central City East Assn. "I see people selling their bodies to get the next hit."

Lopez, like some other downtown activists, said she strongly supported the move, saying the drug bazaars not only generate other crimes but make it difficult for homeless and mentally ill people in the area to stay drug free.

But along skid row, there was also concern Wednesday about the fairness of the injunction.

Lilian Jimenes, 22, who sells jewelry in a small store near the corner of 5th and Los Angeles streets, wonders how police would enforce the new initiative and whether it would violate people's civil rights.

"All people deserve to come to downtown. It shouldn't matter if you're in a gang," Jimenes said.

Regina Li, owner of A.T. Toys on East 5th Street, has been selling toys in the area for more than 15 years. Drugs have long been a problem, Li said, but in the last year she has noticed a heavier police presence and less open drug dealing.

She fears too much policing can hurt business.

"They clear the crime and they clear the customers, too. . . . Too many policemen here means no customers," Li said.

The proposed court order prohibits gang members from associating in an area bounded by 2nd Street to the north, San Pedro Street to the east, 9th Street to the south and Olive Street to the west.

At least 28 members are named in the proposed injunction, Vernon said. Of those, 20 currently are in county jail or state prison.

Another 120 direct associates or family members will be added to the injunction as they are identified, Vernon said.

But the injunction goes a step further than most by including unnamed surrogate dealers whose drugs are supplied by the gang. Officials said they planned to identify these people in the coming months through street intelligence and observing drug sales. As surrogates are identified, they would be added to the injunction list.

Deputy City Atty. Bruce Riordan, head of gang operations, stressed that officials were not trying to use the injunction as a tool to sweep up homeless people and addicts.

"This is a gang injunction, and the primary target is the 5th & Hill gang and its sales force," Riordan said. "It's balanced to address the need for enforcement with the understanding that the users of narcotics in the downtown area are a separate problem and currently being addressed."

Skid row has one of the largest concentrations of homeless people in the United States and has long been a major drug-buying destination. LAPD Chief William J. Bratton and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have promised to clean up the streets, add officers and get more services for those in need.

The district attorney last year started a program that prohibited some people convicted of drug crimes from returning to skid row while on probation. Authorities keep a database of probationers who are banned from the area.

If people on the list are found, they can be arrested immediately on a probation violation even if they have not committed any other crime.

A UCLA study found that although the crackdown had reduced crime, city officials had failed to come with the added social services needed, including more shelter beds for the homeless.
 

WestCoasta

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Re: L.A. targets heroin trade
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2007, 03:49:07 AM »
my friend at work lives around that region

he says by the crack house he always hears the fiends yappin about riding their bikes to go to 5th & Hill
 

Elano

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Re: L.A. targets heroin trade
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2007, 11:29:19 PM »
I can't believe in 2007 people still fuck with the heroin
 

AndrE16686

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Re: L.A. targets heroin trade
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2007, 03:17:44 AM »
big props to the dude Elano. Homie, you like the anchorman for dubcc keeping us posted with news, i always read the stuff, better than trawling through beef threads between NIK and Kain or whoever whoever...

+1 homie, lets get you into the positive karma.








^
How sick was this album!!? This album has a special place in my music collection. Big props for having that shit in your avatar.


 

Elano

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Re: L.A. targets heroin trade
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2007, 06:58:43 AM »
big props to the dude Elano. Homie, you like the anchorman for dubcc keeping us posted with news, i always read the stuff, better than trawling through beef threads between NIK and Kain or whoever whoever...

+1 homie, lets get you into the positive karma.








^
How sick was this album!!? This album has a special place in my music collection. Big props for having that shit in your avatar.




I live in europe,but I LOVE L.A. and i have several friends in the l.a. area
That's why i'm interested in everything about the city
 

LooN3y

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Re: L.A. targets heroin trade
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2007, 02:09:47 PM »
war on drugs makes me laugh.
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