A South Los Angeles duplex that allegedly has served as a storefront for heroin drug sales has been ordered closed for a year, after the property owner failed to stop the illegal activity, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday.
The property in the 700 block of East 24th Street must be vacated within 60 days of the order being posted, which must be done within 10 days of the order’s issue. A sheriff’s lockout would be required, if the property owner does not comply, according to the City Attorney’s office.
The order, granted by Judge Stephanie M. Bowick, came after the property owner failed to comply with an earlier injunction related to a nuisance abatement lawsuit that Feuer filed in August.
“For too long, this property has been the epicenter of drugs and criminal activity in this community,” Feuer said. “Shutting it down demonstrates we’ll take decisive action to protect health and safety in our neighborhoods.”
The duplex is less than a 10-minute walk from the Twenty-Eighth Street School, an elementary school; the Twentieth Street Elementary School; the Santee Education Complex; and Trinity Park. It also is not far from the University of Southern California.
Authorities believe the duplex’s resident, Fernando Chavez, known to be a member of the Primera Flats gang, allowed and facilitated the drug sales at the home, which allegedly has the reputation among buyers for offering the “best heroin” in the city. Sellers, some of the members of the Primera Flats gang, had a process for warning drug buyers when police were near.
The duplex has been the site of 39 drug-related arrests, and police have recovered heroin, methamphetamine and loaded firearms, including ammunition, since July 2013, according to the City Attorney’s office.
The initial nuisance abatement lawsuit was filed against property owner Felipe Lopez, as well as Chavez. Los Angeles police allege the sales were done with the knowledge of both.
A hearing is set for Jan. 21 to discuss further proposed injunction measures, such as banning gang and criminal activity at the duplex, better lighting, secure gates and fences, more rigorous screening of tenants and stronger enforcement procedures in the lease.
— Wire reports