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Drug unit releases details from recent raid

Posted: August 25, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: August 25, 2011 1:30 a.m.

A “huge” seizure of heroin this week, and the arrest since Monday of four alleged heroin dealers, are making a dent in local marketing of the drug, a local narcotics officer said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, deputies with the Narcotics Unit of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station seized two ounces of heroin during the arrest of a man charged with possessing heroin for the purpose of selling it.

“This is a large amount of heroin,” said an undercover narcotics officer who asked not to be identified. “We’re talking a huge amount of this drug.”

Two ounces is more than one-tenth of a pound, or about 56 grams.

“This is a quantity that’s all parcelled up for sale, to be distributed to the people of Santa Clarita,” the officer said.

The seizure interrupts the local sale of heroin to as many as 1,000 heroin addicts, a second undercover narcotics officer said.

“Typically, they buy a tenth of a gram of heroin at a time, or up to a gram at a time,” he said, also requesting anonymity.

“You figure, a tenth would supply 500 users and, with 50 grams total, you’re looking at a 1,000 doses there.”

He said a gram of heroin is worth about $100 street value.

The suspected heroin dealer arrested in connection with Tuesday’s seizure was booked into custody shortly before 10 p.m. that day and being held on $10,000 bail.

When asked if Tuesday’s seizure was linked to multiple dealer arrests made 24 hours earlier, the first narcotics officer interviewed by The Signal said: “It’s all kind of tied in, so in that sense, it’s absolutely connected.”

Monday arrests
On Monday afternoon, Narcotics Unit officers executed a search warrant for a second-story unit on Hogan Drive, near Tournament Road, in Valencia.

Three young adults were arrested in the raid, accused of dealing heroin out of the upstairs unit of an apartment and townhouse complex, between California Institute of the Arts and the Vista Valencia Golf Course.

Two of the suspects, a 21-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man, were charged with possessing heroin for the purpose of selling it.

The third suspect, an 18-year-old woman, was charged with maintaining a place to sell heroin.

All three live in the second-floor apartment raided on Hogan Drive, according to booking records of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

They appeared in court Wednesday and remain in custody, despite reports the trio posted bail and returned to the apartment.

“They’re in custody, and this is a substantial case against them,” the first narcotics officer interviewed told The Signal.

Priority in the SCV

“We talk to kids all the time about this,” he said. “They start out by smoking some weed, maybe switch to pills, and then the pills get harder to find. Heroin is easier to get and less expensive, so they make that jump.”

Once that happens, heroin becomes the only priority for offenders.

Narcotics officers report seeing local teens begin injecting heroin after first smoking it.

“They start stealing from their parents, stealing mom and dad’s gold and selling it for cash,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

Sheriff’s Capt. Paul Becker has identified heroin as a rising problem in the Santa Clarita Valley among young people in their late teens and early 20s.

His station made 108 heroin-related arrests from Aug. 15, 2010, to Aug. 15, 2011, in the Santa Clarita Valley, and nine people have died of drug-overdose-related deaths locally since February 2010, he said earlier this month.


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