LA Parole Sweep Sends Dozens Back to Jail
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Seventy people were arrested, and seizures included 30 grams of cocaine and 156 grams of marijuana, as the largest surprise parole sweep in California's history took place in Los Angeles County yesterday morning. Around 700 federal, state and local law enforcement officers came to the homes of 400 parolees, who were cuffed while their homes were searched for potential violations. As well as drugs, officers confiscated five pitbulls—possibly used for dogfighting—and 20 fully grown marijuana plants. One child was taken into protective custody. An estimated 7,000 of LA County's 16,000 parolees are thought to have gang ties, and “Operation Guardian” was meant to counter a spike in gang-related crime. “It keeps them on their toes,” says parole agent Rick McKail. “They don’t know when we might come out.” Arthur Mosqueda, an assistant manager for the department’s Los Angeles division, adds “By doing these surprised or unannounced searches, you have the opportunity to take guns off the streets…then we’re all safer.” Parole officers say that they're often the only buffer that parolees who want a fresh start have against the ever-present gang life and violence—their job is to encourage them to seek rehabilitation programs and employment.