The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Gang and Narcotics Division (GND), High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (LAPD/HIDTA), LAPD Central Area personnel, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), conducted a two-year investigation in Downtown Los Angeles. The investigation focused its efforts on individuals responsible for the ongoing sales and distribution of narcotics in the Skid Row area, primarily to the homeless population.
Many of the individuals living in the Skid Row area are also narcotics users. The street dealers prey on the homeless when they received their public assistance at the beginning of the month. It is well known that gang members and associates from areas throughout Los Angeles County have traditionally controlled narcotics sales in the Skid Row area.
As of this date, law enforcement personnel involved in the investigation made the following seizures during the investigation:
• Five kilograms of cocaine
• 857 pounds of methamphetamine
• Five pounds of heroin
• One kilogram of fentanyl
• Over 46,000 fentanyl pills
• Six firearms
• Approximately $250,000 in cash from narcotics sales
Capping this two-year investigation, on December 1, 2021, investigators from LAPD/HIDTA, and Central Area, conducted an operation in the Skid Row area and arrested four individuals on federal and state narcotics charges. So far, 50 individuals have been arrested as a result of this investigation, and an additional 16 arrests are pending.
This operation should communicate a clear message to these individuals and other gangs operating in the Skid Row area that it is not business as usual, and law enforcement will use all available resources (state, federal, and local) to bring them to justice if they chose to victimize our communities by engaging in the distribution and sales of dangerous narcotics.
“This investigation showed us there are people living in the suburbs, some with violent criminal histories, who wake up every day and make the conscious decision to commute to the Downtown area and sell dangerous and highly addictive drugs on the streets,” said DEA Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Bill Bodner. “Their target customers in many cases are people experiencing homelessness. With drug caused deaths up nationally over 30% from last year, and the signs of mental health struggles and substance use disorder becoming more and more evident in our city, we must continue to take steps like this investigation to stop this callous exploitation and victimization of our most vulnerable communities.”
The charges for the above defendants range from possession for sales to conspiracy to sell/distribute illegal narcotics. If convicted on the most serious charged offenses, the defendants could face up to 10 years in prison.