The Laguna Beach Police Department received $54,000 from a
narcotics forfeiture based on an arrest made by Sgt. Guy Miller in
“The money will be used to fund our 10th dispatcher position,”
said Chief James Spreine.
Police seized $130,000 in cash from a 36-year old Laguna man who
had been pulled over for missing a license plate on his Toyota
“Things didn’t add up when Sgt. Miller interviewed him,” said Sgt.
Jason Kravetz. Kravetz said Sgt. Miller ended up finding $130,000 in
the man’s possession.
More than an ounce of marijuana was also seized during the search.
The driver was arrested and released with no charges pending. Later
through an attorney, the driver worked out a deal with the District
Attorney’s office to split the money, said Kravetz.
In a civil matter, the burden of proof that the funds were not
obtained in an illicit drug sale lies on the defendant. The revenue
and taxation code stipulates that a person cannot carry more than
$10,000 in cash unless they are transporting that money directly to a
bank. Forfeiture laws have been on the books since the mid-1980s and
officials say funds received have not only benefited cities and
police departments, but hurt drug trafficking at its heart.
“Any time you can take profits away from illicit drug dealing you
hit their operations,” said Bob Hussey, executive director of the
California Narcotics Officers Assn. “These are very successful laws.”
-- Mary A. Castillo
Free tram service is a hit
Hundreds of people have caught the wave, as in the free tram
service offered by the city.
As of this week, ridership doubled from last year, said Bill
Liebel deputy director of the city public works. About 130,000 riders
used the tram last summer.
“The system is free, the routes are simplified so the buses come
more often and the new catch the wave logo,” he explained.
Liebel also credited aggressive marketing with the Chamber of
Commerce and the Visitor’s Bureau. The tram service costs the city
$125,000. It is comprised of three routes servicing South Laguna,
North Laguna and the canyon.
On weekends the city uses reserve main line buses to meet the
demand for rides to and from and canyon. As a result, the Act V
parking lot has seen a 46% increase over last year’s usage, said Pat
Berry, director of community services.
“As many as 800 cars come through it on a weekend day,” Berry
Between 400 and 500 cars use the lot Monday through Friday.
Parking only costs $3.
The tram service and Act V will remain in service through Sept. 1.
-- Mary A. Castillo