Santa Cruz, California, used to be a laid-back beach community where nothing much happened, in a good way. Now itâ€™s infested with Mexican gangsters and bad drugs.
Santa Cruz drug users hooked on Mexican-produced black tar heroin, San Jose Mercury, May 21, 2010
Black tar heroin grown and processed in the southern mountains of Mexico travels north up highways, crosses borders and finds its way to Santa Cruz County, where itâ€™s sold for $10 a hit.
Mexican and Salvadoran gangs control some of the drug trade, but dealers also are tight-knit Mexican families or even addicts.
Drug users â€” from high school- and college-age kids to people in their 50s â€” get their heroin fix at small camps tucked behind trees along the railroad tracks in Santa Cruzâ€™s Harvey West neighborhood or from drug houses scattered across the county.
Santa Cruz is one of the many stupid communities which have adopted sanctuary policies, thereby welcoming foreign criminals and providing them with ideal places to ply their trades.
Anyway, Santa Cruz was all peace and love toward their local illegal aliens until violent drug crime went off the charts. Finally they had to call in the federal immigration agencies to clean up the mess, but old attitudes persist.
Santa Cruz police to partner with immigration officials to fight gang violence, San Jose Mercury, May 5, 2010
Besieged by unsolved gang violence, Santa Cruz police turned to federal immigration agents for help this week.
Beginning Tuesday, a team of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are working with the Police Department to investigate gang crime in the city, Santa Cruz Police Chief Howard Skerry announced Wednesday.
â€śWeâ€™ve reached a point where I, as chief, will call in every available resource,â€ť Skerry said. â€śThe whole focus of this is to find out who committed these crimes and bring them to justice.â€ť Carl Reimer, 19, died April 17 after being shot three times by suspected gang members in a Westside park area. No arrests have been made.
There also are outstanding suspects in three other gang-related homicides in the city dating back to October.
â€śIâ€™m looking to solve crime, so theyâ€™re coming in and theyâ€™re going to help me,â€ť Skerry said.
The effort is part of Operation Community Shield, an ongoing ICE effort to partner with local police agencies to address gang issues. [â€¦]
Santa Cruz city leaders said Wednesday they were pleased the Police Department is getting outside help in dealing with gang violence, but expressed reservations about the perception of ICE agents working in the city.
â€śWe need to do everything we can to stop the gang violence while at the same time maintaining the communityâ€™s trust and open communication with our police department and law enforcement agencies so part of a solution has to be â€“ must be â€“ that there be information and education to the public,â€ť Councilman Tony Madrigal said, adding people need to be told immigration authorities are coming to Santa Cruz for a specific purpose. â€śAny cooperation that happens cannot and should not whittle down the trust and the open communication that has taken so long to establish and build and grow.â€ť
Santa Cruz is a â€śsanctuary city,â€ť a label the City Council adopted in 1982 after Immigration and Naturalization Services authorities, the precursor to ICE, conducted raids in the Beach Flats neighborhood and pulled kids out of class at Bay View Elementary School, according to Mayor Mike Rotkin.
At the time, becoming a sanctuary city was as much an effort to protect residents as it was to assist police officers, who worried that actions by federal agents eroded the communityâ€™s trust in other law enforcement, including local police, Rotkin said.
The mayor was supportive of the new police-ICE partnership.
â€śI donâ€™t think the plan is for ICE to come in here and do sweeps,â€ť he said.