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13 Arrested in Drug Sweep at Apartments Cited by Court

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles police made 13 drug-related arrests at a Sun Valley apartment building Wednesday, the same day a Superior Court commissioner ordered its owners to take steps to stop rampant narcotics problems at the complex known by its neighbors as the “Valley Drugstore.”

Members of the Valley-based narcotics enforcement unit arrested three men on suspicion of possession of cocaine and 10 other people on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs when they were stopped while leaving the nine-unit building at 10538-10544 1/2 Cantara St., police said.

None of the suspects lived in the building but were believed to be customers of drug dealers who work in and near the apartments, Detective Joe Stanley said.

The arrests began about 5 p.m., hours after Commissioner Virginia Chernack had issued a temporary restraining order requiring owners Steve and Lucy Kajaoghlanian to take such steps as hiring a uniformed security guard and installing high intensity lighting to stop the drug dealing.

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The order was issued as the result of a civil suit filed by the city attorney’s office against the owners under the state nuisance abatement law. Narcotics detectives said they did not realize the order had been issued Wednesday when they decided to target the building.

“It was a coincidence,” Stanley said. “We did it because that is a known hot spot” for drug and gang activity. He said one of the men arrested Wednesday was identified as a gang member.

Stanley said his unit had supplied the city attorney’s office with much of the information for its lawsuit, and he welcomed the court order to curtail the drug problems at what he described as a longtime sore spot.

“Anybody who works narcotics knows that location,” Stanley said. “Every dope fiend in the area knows it.”

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According to the city attorney’s office, 41-drug related arrests were made at the apartment complex in the last 20 months. The figures did not include Wednesday’s arrests.


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