Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced on Tuesday that prosecutors have filed for an injunction against illegal activities at separate residences alleged to be drug dens in Hollywood and South Los Angeles.
Two neighboring single-family residences at 5655 and 5657 Lexington Ave. are known to police as places where methamphetamines are sold, stored and used, and where drug users, prostitutes, transients and parolees routinely hang out, Feuer said. Police have made 15 arrests there in the past year-and-a-half, but the efforts have not solved the problem. Now, Feuer said he is going after the property owner.
“[These properties] typify what it means to have a single property jeopardize public safety in an entire neighborhood,” Feuer said. “Each property owner is responsible for maintaining their stake in our community. If they fail to fulfill that obligation — ignoring criminal activity for example that jeopardizes public safety — my office will hold them accountable.”
David Lester Baxter was identified as the property owner for the residences. The criminal proceedings are in the very early stages, according to city attorney’s office spokesman Frank Mateljan. Paperwork requesting the injunctions has been filed, and hearings will likely be scheduled within the next 30 days, he said.
Prosecutors are seeking injunctions that would specifically prohibit the property owners from being involved with selling, manufacturing or storing illegal substances at the site. The injunctions would also require current tenants to move out, and would prohibit them from returning within 1,000 feet of the property.
The injunctions would give police authority to specifically target people at the residences during future enforcement actions, and could eventually lead to the seizure of the properties if the owners do not comply.
The property in South Los Angeles is located at 1233 W. 52nd St. in the Vermont Square District. Feuer said the residence is known to be a place where PCP is sold and used, and it is described as a ”hybrid PCP swap meet and flop house” in court papers. The residence’s owners were identified as Mattie J. Sampson and her son, Bobby J. Sampson Jr. Police allege that members of the Crips gang have used the residence for illegal activity for more than a decade.
“That residence has allegedly been known as a free-for-all for the sale of PCP, for the presence of weapons, for the presence of known drug vendors, again and again,” Feuer said. “In the last year alone, there have been nine incidents associated with this property.”
Both the locations in Hollywood and South Los Angeles are within close proximity to schools, Feuer said. Neighborhood prosecutors for the respective communities are working with police, and Feuer encouraged people to contact their neighborhood prosecutors when they observe criminal activity.
“I want to send a strong message out to neighbors in communities throughout our city, neighbors who may be contending with situations similar to these,” Feuer said. “Let us know, come forward.”
Los Angeles City Councilmen Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District, and Curren Price, 9th District, joined Feuer and LAPD representatives for the announcement about the injunctions.
“It’s a real problem there, and these abatement actions are hugely important in the neighborhoods,” O’Farrell said. “I would urge anyone who witnesses such a destructive presence in their own neighborhood to work with local law enforcement to make sure that they are well aware, and also let the council office know. We are all charged with doing all we can to enhance quality of life in our neighborhoods.”
Price echoed the sentiment.
“Keeping our neighborhoods clean and green has been a prime objective. Keeping them safe for families and kids has been a real concern,” Price said. “Cleaning up the trash, both physical trash and human trash, is something we take very, very seriously.”
The neighborhood prosecutor for the Hollywood area is Jackie Lawson, who can be reached at (213)978-7840, or email email@example.com. The neighborhood prosecutor for the Wilshire Division is Mehrnoosh “Nooshi” Zahiri, and she can be reached at (213)978-2220, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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