16 arrests, $1.8-million seized by LAPD in Southland drug raids

- Authorities Wednesday served multiple drug warrants around the Southland and arrested 16 people, the Los Angeles Police Department reported.

Investigators also seized about $1.8 million in currency, along with "large amounts of cocaine,'' said LAPD Officer Rosario Herrera.

Among the arrestees was Derrick Turner, 48, who was described by police as a "skid row drug kingpin,'' the Los Angeles Times reported.

Turner was arrested at his suburban home in Cerritos during the operation, which targeted downtown Los Angeles's infamous drug market, The Times reported.

Authorities said the goal was to break up what officials described as a dominant ring supplying cocaine and heroin on the streets of downtown Los Angeles at a time when the homeless population is rising along with concerns about crime. Among the evidence seized in the raids was $600,000 in one dollar bills.

"The fact it was one dollar bills tells you a lot about his business on skid row," LAPD Capt. Andrew Neiman told The Times.

The sweep marks the latest in years of crackdowns targeting the drug bazaar that has long operated on the streets of skid row, preying on a homeless community, where addiction is a major problem. Over the weekend, 15 people were sickened during a string of overdoses linked to sales of tainted spice, or synthetic marijuana.

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