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Lawndale City Clerk Indicted on Charges of Drug Possesion

April 10, 1999|From a Times Staff Writer

The Lawndale city clerk has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of possessing 1.5 kilograms of cocaine and more than 18,000 Quaalude pills that he allegedly intended to sell.

Stephen Nicolopulos, who was elected to the part-time city post a year ago, is free on $100,000 bond pending an arraignment Monday in Los Angeles federal court.

An affidavit filed by a Customs Service agent who arrested him last month said Nicolopulos, 37, admitted that he planned to sell some of the cocaine to a person in Florida and keep the rest for himself.

Nicolopulos' lawyer, Derek Li, a federal public defender, said Nicolopulos will plead not guilty to the charges.

Nicolopulos came under suspicion March 19 when he drove to Redondo Torrance Mini Storage in Redondo Beach and picked up two packages sent to a mailbox there from Zurich, Switzerland, according to the affidavit. The parcels had been shipped by "A. Berger" via Federal Express to a "Marc Kramer."

Customs agents had been tipped off about the packages when they arrived four days earlier. Agent Glenn Spindel said in his affidavit that 14 pounds of Ecstasy, an illegal mind-altering drug, had been sent to the same mailbox from an overseas source last year.

Agents opened the two new packages, placed a sensor in one and resealed them. Then they staked out the business.

When Nicolopulos picked up the packages, they followed him to his apartment in Marina del Rey and confronted him there, according to the affidavit.

During a search, the agents allegedly found the two still-unopened boxes of Quaaludes sent from Switzerland, along with another package of Quaaludes, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, 4 pounds of what appeared to be marijuana and $16,500 in cash. Spindel said Nicolopulos consented to the search and even led investigators to the file cabinet where he kept the cocaine.

Speaking on behalf of the mayor and City Council, Lawndale City Manager Vangie Schock said Thursday: "We are aware of the allegations and we choose not to comment at this time."

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