About six months ago, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department announced the arrest of dozens of people in several communities. As part of “Operation Cruel Summer,” officials seized forty pounds of marijuana, 25 pounds of meth, guns, and over $150,000 in cash. During a period of several months prior to the bust, undercover agents say they made over 50 drug buys from the suspects. The catalyst for the police operation was apparently complaints from local residents, and almost all the 49 people ultimately arrested were from Fallbrook, which was described as the home base for the alleged drug and gun trafficking ring.
Last week, the community saw another Fallbrook bust, although this one was a bit smaller. Only five people were arrested: there were multiple charges against the group, including outstanding felony warrants against two; possession of heroin against three; possession of drug paraphernalia; possession of methamphetamine; and, with respect to the suspect who was the primary resident of the home that was raided, providing a place for the distribution of controlled substances.
Some of our readers may not be familiar with the last of the charges listed. It is covered under section 11366 of the California Health and Safety Code, and states that anyone who maintains a “place” for purposes of the illegal sale, giving away, or using any controlled substance listed in the statute, is guilty of a crime. The list includes most illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and even marijuana. Interestingly, depending upon the circumstances, the statute can also give rise to a civil proceeding for the forfeiture of an asset – including real property – which was used, or allowed to be used, in connection with the illegal drugs.
In any event, back to Fallbrook. Last week’s bust brings a total of more than 50 residents arrested in a period of months for illegal drug activity in just these two cases. Does that make Fallbrook somehow special in the illegal drug world? We don’t think so. Certainly, Fallbrook has its problems, including drugs, violence, and gang activity. But those problems don’t seem to be noticeably different from the issues being faced by hundreds of similar communities up and down the coast of southern California.
Law Offices of David Shapiro
1501 5th Ave, #200,
San Diego, CA 92101