Truly a Nickel-and-Dime Dealer in Skid Row

April 9, 2008

Los Angeles. Los Angeles detectives displayed $135,035.00 in cash and coins, which were seized from a Skid Row drug dealer last Thursday, April 3, 2008. Detectives also found 1.5 pounds of cocaine in the man’s apartment, just one block south of the police station.

“We got a tip from a local resident that this man, Sam Flemming, was dealing drugs on Skid Row,” said narcotics detective Bert Feldtz, who leads the local narcotics unit. “He thought he could hide in plain sight, living a block south of the police station.”

A citizen tip led Feldtz and his crew to Flemming, 50, who was living in the Volunteers of America residence, located in the 600 block of Wall Street. The detectives watched Flemming Thursday walk from his apartment to the heart of Skid Row’s narcotics bazaar at Fifth Street and San Julian Street, just east of the police station.

Detectives watched Flemming sell his wares then moved to arrest him. “This guy had $11,000 cash in his pocket,” Feldtz said. “After we got a warrant and searched his apartment, we were amazed to find even more money in addition to the drugs, and so much of it in nickels, dimes and quarters.”

Detectives also released Flemming’s photograph in the hopes of more persons coming forward with information about his activities. Flemming has eight prior felony arrests. Lt. Paul Vernon, head of detectives downtown offered, “We hope this guy is like a cat and this will be the ninth life in his criminal life.”

Since the inception of the Safer Cities Initiative, crime dropped precipitously over the last 18 months, but property crime has edged up 24 percent since the beginning of the year, while violent crime remains down 3 percent. “Our narcotics arrests have dropped off this year due to specialized resources being sent to other places and we’ve seen our property crimes rise, especially in Skid Row,” said Lt. Vernon. “We are having to re-assess our strategies so we don’t lose the ground we’ve gained. Arrests like this are very important, but it’s only one of many we could be making.”

Of all the money seized, over $6,000 in coins, and over 11,000 one-dollar bills.

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD’s Central Narcotics Unit at 213-972-2756. Persons can also call the 24-hour hotline number, 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).

Still photos of the drugs and money at the time of seizure are available from Media Relations Section.