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San Diego : Drug Raid Nets Employees of Union-Tribune

An 11-month, undercover narcotics operation at the Union-Tribune Publishing Co., involving San Diego police and a private investigation agency, ended Wednesday with a raid at the newspapers’ plant and the arrest of 10 people, police reported.

Eleven officers from the San Diego Police Department’s narcotics detail arrested eight employees after searching the newspapers’ production department shortly before 10 a.m., Lt. Dan Berglund said. He said there were no arrests of employees in other departments.

Two women, not associated with the company, were arrested earlier in the morning at an employee’s apartment in Loma Portal. Berglund said half an ounce of methamphetamine was found in the apartment.

He said small quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana were found in cars of four of those arrested. The cars were searched Wednesday while they were in the company’s parking lot, he said.

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The company’s management was informed anonymously last June by its union officials and employees about the possibility of drug sales and abuse within the company, said General Manager Gary D. Goss in a written statement. Officials of employee unions could not be reached Wednesday.

Acting on that information, management hired a private agency to conduct an internal investigation, Goss said. He said such a decision was made solely by management and did not involve employees or union officials.

Harold Phenix, a spokesman for Narcorp, the private agency hired by the newspaper company, did not return calls Wednesday.

Goss wrote: “This investigation has revealed a number of instances of both the use of and/or drug sales by certain employees. Whenever it was appropriate, information gathered through this investigation was turned over to the police for their criminal proceedings.”

All 10 people were arrested in connection with the sale and possession of controlled substances, said police spokesman Bill Robinson. He said those arrested were taken to either the County Jail downtown or the Las Colinas County Jail for women in Santee.

Goss declined to say whether the employees arrested would be dismissed, and wrote in the statement: “Any actions taken . . . regarding these matters are confidential matters between the Union-Tribune and its employees.”


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