Los Angeles police arrested a man they say is a skid row drug kingpin at his suburban home in Cerritos along with 15 others as part of an early-morning sweep targeting downtown’s infamous drug market.
Authorities said the goal was to break up what officials described as a dominant ring supplying cocaine and heroin on the streets of downtown L.A. at a time when the homeless population is rising along with concerns about crime. Among the evidence seized in the investigation was $600,000 in $1 bills.
“The fact it was $1 bills tells you a lot about his business on skid row,” LAPD Capt. Andrew Neiman said.
The sweep marks the latest in years of crackdowns targeting the drug bazaar that has long operated on the streets of skid row, preying on a homeless community where addiction is a major problem. Over the weekend, 15 people were sickened during a string of overdoses linked to sales of tainted spice, or synthetic marijuana.
Los Angeles SWAT officers rolled into a cul-de-sac in the Cerritos neighborhood shortly after 3:30 a.m. in armored vehicles to capture Derrick Turner, 48.
Clad in his pajamas, Turner finally walked out and was arrested. His children could be heard crying.
Turner’s home on Teresa Court was one of 20 locations raided by LAPD and a regional drug task force. Police said they arrested 16 of the 20 suspects for whom they had warrants to take into custody.
Turner is an Athens Blood gang member but works with the Grape Street gang to sell drugs, according to detectives.
Crime in skid row and other parts of downtown L.A. increased last year.
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