Anaheim police arrested more than 100 small-time cocaine and marijuana dealers in three low-income neighborhoods near Disneyland after a three-month undercover investigation triggered by complaints from residents.
Police Chief Joseph T. Molloy on Thursday described the sweep that netted 105 suspected drug dealers in six days as a "show of force" in the Lynne-Jeffrey, Ponderosa Park and Citron-Vermont neighborhoods, where drug sales had been on the increase.
The three areas are in the southern portion of the city near Disneyland.
Small quantities of cocaine, heroin and marijuana with a total street value of about $50,000, as well as rifles and money, were seized during the arrests, Molloy said.
The police searched 10 residences where officers had purchased drugs during the investigation. Owners were informed that if drug activity continued on their premises, the properties could be seized, Molloy said.
Police also charged the managers of five motels with maintaining a disorderly house and have issued warrants for their arrest. Molloy said the motels were "catering" to prostitutes in the drug areas. The motels are: the Crown Motel at 1136 N. Anaheim Blvd., the Americana Motel at 130 S. Beach Blvd., the Top's Motel at 909 S. Harbor Blvd., Stage Stop Motel at 2912 W. Lincoln Ave., and the Palm Motor Lodge at 1101 N. Harbor Blvd.
The drug investigation began after neighbors protested that the dealers were becoming increasingly brazen in their street sales and in dealing from several houses, Molloy said.
Patrol officers assigned to the area also noticed that the dealers were able to easily conceal their goods and signal each other when police cars were in the area.
In May, about 25 police officers went under cover and made more than 125 purchases of heroin and cocaine, only two of which were crack-cocaine sales, said Capt. John Flanagan, who headed the operation, which was called Narcomania I. With the purchases in hand, police were able to obtain 75 arrest warrants that led to the capture of the 105 suspects.
Of those arrested, there were 95 men, three women, and seven teen-agers ranging in age from 15 to 18. The adults were being held at Orange County Jail in Santa Ana, where they were booked on suspicion of selling narcotics. The youths were taken to Juvenile Hall in Orange. Sixty-three arrests were made in the Ponderosa area, 32 in Lynne-Jeffrey and 10 in Citron-Vermont.
"We like to think it's like closing a retail outlet store. There's no market anymore, at least not for a while. There's no one to buy from," Flanagan said.
Flanagan said there was no guarantee that drug sales were over in the three neighborhoods, but he said he hoped that the sweep creates "paranoia" for dealers in the area.
"From now on, they don't know when they are dealing with the man," Flanagan said.