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Probation sweep nets local on drug charges

Sheriff’s deputies conduct probation checks; one arrested, two more in violation

Posted: March 26, 2009 1:02 a.m.
Updated: March 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Probation officer Laura Bryce and Sgt. Dean Currie visit a Canyon Country home on a random probation check. Sgt. Currie said after following up on five people, one man was arrested after admitting to deputies he was in possession of narcotics.

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Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies visited five Santa Clarita Valley homes early Wednesday and arrested one man during a countywide sweep to check on individuals released on probation.

Joaquin Cruz, 25, of Canyon Country, was arrested for alleged drug possession, and two more were found in violation of probationary terms for moving without registering a current address, sheriff's Sgt. Dean Currie said.

Detective Dan Finn said the suspect in custody, "Admitted to having two small plastic baggies of (methamphetamine) in the room he rented with his wife and his child."

The operation started before 6 a.m., and as the sun peeked over the mountains to the east of the SCV, five deputy cars and more than a dozen deputies surrounded the first location in Saugus.

"The suspect inside is on probation for vandalism," Currie said.

A thorough search of the Saugus home - which included Hunter, a Sheriff's Department canine, sniffing around the residence - came up with nothing.

Probationers are subject to no-warrant site searches as a condition of their probation.

"If (probationers) are doing good, it's good for them - but if they are in violation, we need to arrest them," said Probation Officer Laura Bryce.

The parade of black-and-whites left Saugus and headed to Canyon Country to search the next probationer's home.

Deputies stood outside the Canyon Country home in their green windbreakers as Canyon High School students walking to school stopped to gawk.

Again the search yielded nothing that warranted an arrest, Currie said.

When deputies stopped at the next two locations in Canyon Country, residents at the homes told deputies the probationers had moved.

"Probation will violate these individuals for not keeping a current address," Currie said.

Deputies took a probation violator shortly after 8:30 a.m., after a search of Cruz's residence at the 19600 block of Bruces Place in Canyon Country. "He's on probation for burglary and drug possession," Currie said.

Cruz sat on the couch in the living room with his infant daughter on his lap as the deputies and Hunter searched around the residence.

Currie said Cruz admitted to possessing the drugs shortly before deputies found the narcotics lying on a shelf.

The two baggies of methamphetamine are enough to send Cruz back to jail and for a call to Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Service to check whether the county should assume temporary custody of the child, Currie said.

"(Family Services) will look at the conditions and whether the mother can take care of the child," he said.

Cruz was booked for investigation of drug possession is due in Santa Clarita Superior Court Friday.

Deputies working cooperatively with several city police departments hit 168 locations Wednesday throughout Los Angeles County, Currie said.

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