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8 Arrested in 'Date Rape' Drug Crackdown

Crime: Task force seizes substantial quantities of GHB in raids in six L.A.-area communities.

September 20, 2002|ERIC MALNIC | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Eight suspects were arrested and substantial quantities of illicit drugs were seized in a series of raids on a Los Angeles-area ring specializing in the sale and distribution of the "date rape" drug known as GHB, a law enforcement task force said Thursday.

Officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs Service, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and other agencies made the arrests and confiscated the drugs Wednesday in Echo Park, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Tarzana and Toluca Lake. The raids were part of a nationwide crackdown on distributors of GHB, or gamma hydroxybuteric acid, officials said.

Agents said the ring used the Internet and the mail to sell and distribute GHB and its derivatives. The drug can cause dizziness, drowsiness, memory loss and loss of inhibition. The DEA said it has documented 72 deaths related to GHB and its derivatives.

Booked on suspicion of possession of controlled substances for sale and unlawful distribution of controlled substances were Kenneth Kleckner, 32, Brian Riedlinger, 38, and Brian Smith, 42, all of Los Angeles; Christine Laguna, 27, and Kevin Saltzer, 42, both of Pacific Palisades; Craig Collins, 56, of Malibu; Richard Samaan, 28, of Tarzana; and Kevin Lacy, 35, of West Hollywood.

Confiscated during the raids were a .30-caliber rifle, hypodermic syringes and "substantial quantities" of GHB, anabolic steroids, cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms and other illicit pharmaceuticals, the DEA said.

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