When you hear about drug dealing, you probably think back alleys or the bad part of town, but you might be surprised that's its happening in grocery store parking lots, even in Valley schools.
CBS47 went undercover with police as they stake out the spots where drug deals are happening, and bust drug houses that are bringing crime to neighborhoods.
CBS47’s Kathryn Herr shows you the drug deals are even occurring along busy streets. Belmont Avenue in Southwest Fresno is a mix of shops and homes and is a heavily traveled street, and also where an undercover officer was sold illegal street drugs, $20 worth of meth.
We were invited along as police conducted their undercover sting. As our camera watched, the accused drug dealer was arrested and taken to jail. Then officers focused on the place he picked up the drugs... about two doors away. “In a situation like this, we have now identified the house that is dealing narcotics,” said Joe Alvarez with the Fresno Police Department.
Sgt. Alvarez and members of the Southwest District Crime Suppression Team head to the hose with a search warrant. They raid the home and bring out eleven people who have been staying there. “So far, we've found a lot of narcotic paraphernalia and some narcotics. There was a large number of individuals here that were actively using narcotics are just hanging out here for the purpose of narcotics sales,” said Alvarez.
The home is less than 1,000 feet from a school.
A police K-9 searches the house and property and finds more drugs, marijuana and methamphetamine, prescription drugs and stolen property.
Five people are arrested.
Neighbors had seen a lot of traffic at the house.
Neighbors had seen a lot of traffic at the house but they didn't know there were drugs in the house.
Police say drug sales can happen anywhere. “It could be from a car. It could be from a house. It could be an individual that walks a particular street,” said Alvarez.
It could even be a student at a school!
On the night CBS47 was riding with the team, they were called to an adult school, where administrators suspected a student was trying to sell marijuana. Officers confiscated drugs and baggies and the 17-year-old student was arrested.
Where police see drugs, they often see other crimes, like cars and homes broken into. That's what prompted police in Northeast Fresno to track down a known drug addict, who they suspect is behind several burglaries.
They check an apartment near Shaw and Fresno. There is a surveillance camera to watch the front door. Inside, they find the man they're looking for, 21-year-old Nick Miller. Miller claims he wasn't using drugs but officers find a syringe and a spoon used to cook the drug and he can't stay awake. Even though he's being questioned by police, he keeps nodding off, a sign of opiate abuse.
Police say Miller has been found twice with stolen property, taken from homes in Northeast Fresno, to support his drug habit. This is typical of the type of drug use seen on this side of town.
Dan Godwin said, “A lot of these kids that we're dealing with oxycontin and heroin. They come from Clovis West, Buchanan, Clovis North… They get started on oxycontin when they're in college, high school and the drug addiction just takes over.”
Police find syringes and what appears to be oxycontin in Miller's bag. He was taken to jail and charged with drug possession, drug use and theft.
Police say regular citizens can actually be one of the most effective tools to fight drug crimes in your neighborhood. “We need our community to let us know when this is occurring within their neighborhood. That is the only way we can investigate it, devote resources to it and help,” said Sgt. Alvarez.
If you see what you think is drug dealing or drug use in your neighborhood, call your local police or sheriff's department.