A still life composed of a number of items that represent controlled substances often ingested, inhaled, or injected by illicit drug users. Photo courtesy CDC/ Debora Cartagena.

City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a narcotics abatement lawsuit Tuesday against the owners of a Highland Park home allegedly operating as an unlicensed daycare center and cocaine dispensary.

“The rampant drug activity we allege at this home is a dangerous blight on the community — and especially alarming because little kids are caught up in the middle of it,” Feuer said at a news conference with representatives from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and the L.A. Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force.

“Imagine if your children were being cared for in the same house where cocaine was being sold,” he said. “My office will do everything in our power to shut down what we allege is an incredibly toxic combination of illegal drugs and day care.”

One of the two owners of the Highland Park home, Felipe Talamante, is accused in a federal court case of trying to sell cocaine “direct from Mexico” to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent on May 25, the Los Angeles Times reported. Felipe Talamante, 48, boasted to a confidential informant that he had 20 kilograms — or 44 pounds — of cocaine worth about $430,000 ready to sell, and the informant then connected him with the undercover agent, court papers allege.

When the men allegedly met to make the sale, authorities noticed that several children were playing in the front yard, according to documents cited by The Times. One 2-year-old child was picked up from the home while the drug order was being placed, and officers conducting surveillance “observed children of all ages being picked up and dropped off at Felipe’s residence,” according to the criminal complaint.

A child’s mattress was found in the same room as the cocaine, and children were seen playing on the patio during drug deals, according to The Times.

Federal agents arrested Talamante on suspicion of being in possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He’s being held in federal custody and is scheduled to be arraigned July 16, the newspaper reported.

Talamante’s home, meanwhile, is subject to civil action. Feuer’s nuisance abatement lawsuit asks a judge to declare the property a public nuisance and to take it away from Talamante, who could then be banned from the property for a year.

The suit also seeks to keep Talamante from operating any day care center in the city and force him to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines and penalties. The property would then be sold at auction, with the proceeds going toward rehabilitating the location.

Police previously arrested Talamante at the same home in 2015 — also for possessing 20 kilos of cocaine, according to Feuer’s office.

—City News Service

 

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