Police Using Battering Ram Seize Cocaine, 1 Suspect

Times Staff Writer

Police Friday night brought their controversial motorized battering ram back to the northeast San Fernando Valley area in which it was unveiled, using the armored device at a suspected drug "rock house" in Lake View Terrace that was raided two months earlier.

Police said they seized two ounces of cocaine and arrested one man during the 8 p.m. raid on the alleged rock house--a name used for heavily fortified dwellings from which cocaine is sold in rock-like clumps--at 11442 Wheeler Ave.

Arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine for sale was Kenneth Reaux, 25, of Pacoima. Police said the cocaine was retrieved from a pot of boiling grease apparently kept to dispose of drugs quickly.

Police said the house is owned by Jeffrey Bryant, whom they described as the leader of a ring of drug dealers operating out of several houses in the northeast Valley.

The 14-foot battering ram was first used Feb. 6 on a house owned by Bryant in Pacoima. In that raid, the device knocked through the wall of a living room in which children had been playing moments earlier. The incident prompted complaints by community groups and demands for an investigation by the Police Commission.

In Friday's raid, the ram went over wire fence, up the front walk of the house and knocked through two metal front doors.

Capt. Noel Cunningham said the battering ram was used after a policeman, looking through a back window, saw Reaux throw the drug into the grease. The house was surrounded by about 30 officers, Cunningham said.

"It took 30 seconds from the time of the impact for the officers to make an arrest and seize the drugs," Cunningham said. "If we had not used the ram, we might not have been able to bring charges against this man."

Cunningham said the house had been fortified with iron doors since a raid there Jan. 22.

Police said Friday's raid followed an investigation in which undercover officers bought cocaine through the front door of the house, which they estimated did $3,000 a day in drug sales.

"This house is connected to what we believe are a network of houses that are trying to establish themselves in the Valley," Cunningham said.

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