400 Drug Dealers, Arrested in Area Operation!

400 Drug Dealers, Arrested in Area Operation!
Posted by FoM on February 27, 1999 at 11:09:47 PT

Cooperative LAPD-DEA effort results in a 26% drop in robberies, an 18% drop in burglaries and a 28% drop in aggravated assaults, an official says.     
 NORTHRIDGE--Authorities have arrested more than 400 drug dealers and their customers in North Hills and Panorama City in the past four months as part of a multidisciplinary effort to crack down on drug activity, police said Friday.   Specialized Los Angeles Police Department units targeting gangs and drugs have been working with federal Drug Enforcement Agency agents in the undercover operation since mid-November, said Deputy Chief Michael Bostic, chief of operations at the LAPD's Valley Bureau.   Included in the arrests were four of the major drug suppliers in the North Hills area, all members of local gangs, Bostic said.   Since the operation began, robberies have dropped by 26%, burglaries by 18% and aggravated assaults by 28%, Bostic said, crediting the drug operation for the decreases.   Police officers and DEA agents focused on the gangs that they believe organize the drug trade in North Hills and Panorama City, where nearly one-third of the drug activity in the San Fernando Valley takes place, Bostic said.   "This is one of the largest problem areas in the entire city," Bostic said.   Bostic characterized much of the drug activity in the area as a highly organized operation regulated by local gangs that police have had little success at infiltrating.   "We had a tremendous amount of difficulty getting into the organization," he said.   Police confiscated more than 2,000 grams of powdered cocaine, 300 grams of rock cocaine and 18,000 grams of marijuana during the nearly four-month operation. Almost 800 grams each of heroin and methamphetamine were also found throughout the area. "It's a very convenient place for buyers to come," said LAPD Capt. Joe Curreri of the Devonshire Division. "We will continue to have a number of special operations targeted in the area to afford the people in the community a nice place to live."   The operation also resulted in the confiscation of about $49,700 and several handguns and rifles.   The DEA provided the Police Department with money and agents whose faces the dealers did not recognize, Bostic said.   The LAPD, in turn, provided the agents with a trailer in the station's parking area to use as an office.   The DEA agents had their last day at the Devonshire station Friday. Police officials acknowledged that it might be difficult to sustain the results and to keep the drug activity from simply moving to another area, Bostic said. Some of the people arrested have already been released or have skipped bail, he said.   "It's locked into the community," said Det. Mike Brown. "It's going to stay there until we get rid of the players out there." By NANCY TREJOS, Times Staff Writer
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