Long Beach : Confiscation of Rock Houses to Be Studied

In an effort to stop illegal drug sales from Long Beach dwellings, the City Council has asked city officials to determine the legality of declaring a residence a public nuisance, then confiscating it.

"We have a problem with narcotics sales from houses and apartments in my (6th) district," Councilman James Wilson told the council. "This may be an effective way of trying to control these rock houses."

Law enforcement agencies from several Southland cities have said small crystalline "rocks" of cocaine and other drugs are sold through windows and doors of residences. Los Angeles has used a battering ram to pierce the heavily fortified dwellings, and Compton has passed a public nuisance law like the one Long Beach is investigating.

Wilson said confiscation of rock houses, usually rentals with no permanent residents, might be an effective deterrent. "I think if we make it very clear their property has been declared a public nuisance and (cannot) be used for a year . . . they'll think twice," he said.

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