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9-Year-Old's Plea for Food Leads to Drug Cache

December 19, 1985|SEBASTIAN DORTCH | Times Staff Writer

The desperate pleas of a 9-year-old child led San Diego police to a safe holding drugs with an estimated street value of $4 million.

Police said a boy in South San Diego called the department about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and complained that he and his brothers, ages 2 and 6, were hungry and frightened because they didn't know where their mother was.

When officers arrived at the Iris Avenue address to investigate, they were greeted by a child carrying a loaded submachine gun, said Lt. Skip Di Cerchio. After the officers took the gun away, they saw scales used to measure drugs and a garbage bag stuffed with $57,470 in cash inside the house. Police also found three pounds of heroin and about 14 pounds of cocaine in the house, Di Cerchio said. They also confiscated a safe that was opened Wednesday, and $14 million worth of drugs were inside, police said.

The children's mother, Gloria Arana, 31, was arrested when she returned home Tuesday night. She was booked at County Jail on two counts of suspicion of narcotics possession and sale. Her bond was set at $750,000. She is being held at the County Jail at Las Colinas.

Di Cerchio said that, when the oldest child phoned for assistance, he "indicated that they (both he and his brothers) were abandoned, hungry and frightened." Police are continuing their investigation.

The children were taken to Hillcrest Receiving Home, where authorities on Wednesday were trying to contact other relatives.

Neighbors said that the family had moved into the area last summer and "kept close to themselves" most of the time. Neighbors also said that cars often frequented the home late into the evening.

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