Riverside Police Arrest 104 in Drug Sweep—100 Are Back on the Street

Riverside Police Arrest 104 in Drug Sweep—100 Are Back on the Street

Some of the suspects arrested during the three-week Operation Street Sweeper. (Riverside Police Department)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

5/3/2024

Updated: 5/5/2024

Riverside police arrested 104 people, including 33 dealers, during a three-day sweep targeting illegal drugs, the department announced May 2.
The Riverside Police department’s narcotics unit conducted an undercover drug purchase operation along the Magnolia Avenue corridor, between Van Buren Boulevard and Pierce Street over the past several weeks.
During the three-week “Operation Street Sweeper,” undercover agents were able to make 46 purchases of methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine, the hallucinogen PCP, and psilocybin mushrooms, the department reported.
Sellers in the city, located about 55 miles east of Los Angeles, were mainly homeless or living in the various motels along Magnolia Avenue, police said.
At the end of the operation police located 44 suspects who were caught selling illegal drugs. Of those, 33 were arrested and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center for narcotics violations.
Police also arrested 71 other suspects on suspicion of violating parole or probation, felony arrest warrants, and misdemeanor arrest warrants.
Of those, 32 were arrested for misdemeanor trespassing, public intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia, and illegal possession of a controlled substance.
During one of the searches at a motel room, a woman was found to be wanted on a 2022 felony drunk-driving case in which she struck a vehicle with two women and a 4-year-old boy who were seriously injured. She was found inside a room with a man who also had an outstanding felony warrant for burglary. Officers discovered several thousand dollars’ worth of stolen merchandise in the man’s possession during the search, according to police.
Almost all of the suspects claimed to be homeless and living on the streets and in motels, police reported.
Calls for medical aid and police service along the Magnolia Avenue corridor immediately and significantly decreased after the arrests, police said.
Only four suspects remained in custody Thursday. Five were released within 24 hours.
Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez posted a statement about the operation on Facebook saying most of those arrested and booked into jail during the operation have already been released and are back on the street.
Proposition 47, a controversial law passed by California voters in 2014, downgraded many drug offenses to misdemeanors and raised the threshold of theft crimes to $950.
The proposition has come under fire from several citizen groups and law enforcement agencies as drugs and crime escalate throughout California.
A coalition backed by law enforcement, elected officials, and businesses has collected nearly 1 million signatures for a ballot initiative called the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act to repeal parts of Prop. 47.
The measure would create harsher penalties for repeat shoplifters and fentanyl dealers. Shoplifters would be charged with a felony regardless of the amount of merchandise stolen, if they have at least two prior theft convictions. It would also create a drug court treatment program for those with multiple drug possession convictions.
Other legislative measures to strengthen the law have failed to pass in recent years.
“With overcrowded jails and minimal deterrents, defendants serve minimal to no jail time, leading to deeper addiction and chronic homelessness,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “The majority of those arrested last week are on our streets due to these failed propositions and Assembly bills.”
He urged residents to educate themselves on the proposed legislative efforts to bring some tools back to help law enforcement keep the streets safe.
Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

Author

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.