SANTA CRUZ — Police and drug agents seized $11,000 worth of methamphetamine and arrested three people, including a drug distributor, when they raided a Beach Hill motel Friday morning.
Authorities also found a loaded handgun and steroids when they served search warrants on four separate apartments at El View Lodge, Santa Cruz police reported.
DEA agents started working with city police to disrupt the local drug trade, especially in the Harvey West neighborhood and Pogonip, a city-owned open space between Highway 9 and UC Santa Cruz, a month ago. Friday's bust was the first since partnership began.
Around 7 a.m. Friday, the police department's emergency services unit — like a SWAT team — led the way into the motel.
Police suspected one of the alleged drug dealers might have guns, so the tactical team was called in to help investigators serve the search warrants, according to Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Rick Martinez.
Officers reported taking more than a quarter-pound of uncut methamphetamine from Dennis Harroun, 43, as well as a loaded handgun, $2,000 cash, drug packaging material and a few dozen prescription pills, primarily methadone.
He's not necessarily classified as a street-level dealer, he's more sophisticated, Martinez said.
Cory Chrysler, 37, allegedly had steroids and illegal knives. His wife, 40-year-old Catherine Chrysler, was allegedly high on drugs when police raided the motel on the 800 block of Third Street.
All three were arrested and booked into County Jail. The two men remained in custody Friday evening, jail records showed.
These arrests demonstrate how valuable the partnership between the Santa Cruz Police Department and the DEA can be, Santa Cruz Police Chief Howard Skerry said in a prepared statement.
We have taken a dangerous and sophisticated drug dealer off of our streets with the aid of this federal resource.
Martinez said the DEA agents were instrumental in the investigation and it's one of several drug probes detectives are working on the DEA agents.
It's an initial victory but there's certainly more work to do, Martinez said.
Harroun was the primary target, Martinez said.
Other people staying in the apartments raided were not home at the time. It wasn't clear Friday if police were also seeking arrest warrants for those people.
Online reviews of El View Lodge paint the motel as a seedy establishment frequented by drug dealers, junkies and prostitutes, and that police often respond to calls at the motel.
It was just chock full of drug dealers, drug users, Martinez said.
It's a scene that's probably going to see some further attention.
By Jennifer Squires
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