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53 Arrested in Crackdown on Cocaine

August 27, 1987|SUE AVERY | Times Staff Writer

MONROVIA — In a crackdown aimed at cocaine buyers, Monrovia police last weekend arrested 53 people, including an El Monte man who allegedly tried to escape and was charged with attempted murder.

Although police normally focus on dealers, Lt. Robert Page of the Monrovia Police Department said this operation focused on buyers "because we have never tried it."

"We want people to understand that we will attack the problem from every angle possible," he said.

The operation, which involved 38 officers, was similar to one in Pomona, in which 56 people were arrested in June, and two in Inglewood, where a total of 84 suspects were arrested in March and May.

Monrovia police, assisted by the district attorney's office and the Sheriff's Department, targeted two locations known for drug activity on Friday and Saturday nights. Police would not disclose the locations because they plan to repeat the operation.

The undercover officers, equipped with hidden microphones, posed as dealers and positioned themselves at intersections. The buyers would drive up to the curb and order what they wanted, Page said.

After the transaction was completed, the motorists were arrested either at the scene or within a block or two, he said.

Scott Anthony Williams, 28, of El Monte was arrested and charged with attempted murder after he drove away as two officers leaned on the car, police said. Williams' car, which was fired at by officers, was later stopped when police rammed the vehicle at the Huntington Drive on-ramp to the 605 Freeway in Duarte.

The two officers who leaned on the suspect's car suffered minor injuries.

The crackdown resulted in the arrests of 51 adults ages 20 to 47 and two juveniles ages 15 and 16. Twenty suspects are Monrovia residents and the others are from Arcadia, Azusa, Covina, El Monte, Duarte, Sierra Madre and San Gabriel.

Forty-eight were charged with possession of cocaine, three with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and two with threatening police officers.

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