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Convicted Drug Dealer Moves Next Door, and Has 2nd House Seized

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Federal and local law enforcement officers have seized a house in Mission Hills on the grounds that the owner was selling drugs there--after seizing the house next door from the same man earlier this year, authorities said.

It marked the first time that two houses have been seized from the same drug dealer, said a spokesman for Los Angeles City Atty. James K. Hahn. Both houses had been havens for drug users and hot spots for cocaine sales, authorities said.

The houses in the 10900 block of Columbus Avenue had belonged to Charles W. Bell, 41, Hahn said.

Bell, who had pleaded guilty to cocaine dealing in an earlier case, was rearrested Nov. 7 and charged with a felony count of maintaining a location for the trafficking of a controlled substance, said Mike Qualls, a spokesman for Hahn. Bell was being held Friday in lieu of $15,000 bail, and is scheduled to appear Jan. 13 in San Fernando Superior Court.

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Friday’s seizure was carried out by U.S. marshals, federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents, San Fernando police and Los Angeles police officers assigned to the FALCON (Focused Attack Linking Community Organizations and Neighborhoods) Narcotics Abatement Unit, authorities said.

“The house was located only 100 feet away from the North Valley YMCA, which operates a day-care center,” Hahn said. “The house was being used for both the sale and consumption of cocaine, and Bell was an active participant in the criminal activities going on there.”

Federal marshals will maintain control of the house until it is sold at a federal auction.

Both houses were previously owned by Bell’s late father, Charles Bell Sr., authorities said. Bell had lived at the house at 10944 Columbus Ave. until its seizure in January, and then moved into the house next door at 10938 Columbus Ave., they said.

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After the January seizure, Bell pleaded guilty Jan. 11 to charges of felony possession of cocaine for sale, and was sentenced to 270 days in jail and three years of probation, authorities said.

“After being released from jail last summer, Bell moved into the dwelling seized today and resumed his illegal activities,” Hahn said.

Police began investigating the activity at the house in late summer, after receiving a number of complaints from neighbors and information from a confidential informant, authorities said.


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