Highland Park man’s home doubled as an unlicensed day care center and cocaine den
A Highland Park man is facing charges of not only trafficking drugs out of his home, but doing so while running an unlicensed day care center, federal and civil documents show.
In a federal complaint, Felipe Talamante, 48, is accused of trying to sell 20 kilograms of cocaine “direct from Mexico” to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent on May 25, court records show.
Talamante boasted to a confidential informant that he had 20 kilograms of cocaine worth about $430,000 ready to sell, the criminal complaint shows. The informant then allegedly connected Talamante with the undercover agent.
When the men met to make the sale on May 25, authorities noticed that several children were playing in the front yard, documents show. One 2-year-old child was picked up from the home while the drug order was being placed, and officers conducting surveillance “observed children of all ages being picked up and dropped off at Felipe’s residence,” the criminal complaint said.
A child’s mattress was found in the same room as the cocaine, and children were seen playing on the patio during drug deals, authorities said.
Federal agents arrested Talamante on suspicion of being in possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He’s scheduled to be arraigned July 16, his attorney said. He’s being held in federal custody.
Talamante’s home, meanwhile, is subject to civil action.
On Monday, the Los Angeles city attorney’s office announced it had filed a nuisance abatement lawsuit against Talamante’s property. The lawsuit asks a judge to declare the property a public nuisance and to take it away from Talamante, who could then be banned from the property for a year.
The lawsuit also seeks to keep Talamante from operating any day care center in the city and force him to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties. The property would then be sold at auction with the proceeds going toward rehabilitating the location.
Police had previously arrested Talamante at the same home in 2015 — also for possessing 20 kilograms of cocaine, according to the city attorney’s office.
“The rampant drug activity we allege at this home is a dangerous blight on the community — and especially alarming because little kids are caught up in the middle of it. Imagine if your children were being cared for in the same house where cocaine was being sold,” City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a statement. “My office will do everything in our power to shut down what we allege is an incredibly toxic combination of illegal drugs and day care.”
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