LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced his office has filed a nuisance abatement lawsuit against the owner of an alleged gang stronghold in Watts known as a hub for Bounty Hunter street gang activity and illegal guns and drugs. The lawsuit is part of a sustained and concentrated effort by Feuer and law enforcement partners to rid neighborhoods of narcotics and crime magnet properties across Los Angeles, including seven recent abatement lawsuits filed against properties in Hollywood, South Los Angeles, Watts, Venice and Del Rey.
“A single property, plagued by gangs and guns, can have a devastating impact on the quality of life of an entire neighborhood,” said Feuer. “My office will continue to work swiftly and aggressively to purge our neighborhoods of these headquarters of local crime.”
A public nuisance abatement lawsuit has been filed against Tosha Jaton Armstrong, the owner of a single-family home located at 1771 East 113th Street in Watts. The property is located less than 900 feet from two elementary schools (Grape Street and Flournoy Elementary).
Investigation of the property began with a referral from federal law enforcement agents after identifying it as an alleged longtime stronghold for members and associates of the Bounty Hunter Bloods criminal street gang. The property has long been associated with rampant criminal activity, including narcotics sales as well as a hangout and hub for the commission of other gang-related activity. Since 2011, there have been 14 arrests made at the property and 16 firearms recovered including five high powered assault rifles.
The civil abatement action seeks an injunction restricting gang and criminal activity on the property including prohibiting all known gang members from entering or staying at the property and prohibiting criminal activity including narcotics sales. Failure to comply with the terms of the proposed injunction could result in the closure of the property.
“I salute our City Attorney Mike Feuer for his responsiveness and dedication to cleaning up our precious neighborhoods of rampant criminal activity that degrades the lives of residents," said City Councilmember Joe Buscaino. “I support more of these type of injunctions and will continue to report problem locations to the City Attorney.”
Since July, 2013, City Attorney Feuer’s Federal and Local Special Abatement Operations Unit has obtained more than 45 injunctions requiring comprehensive physical and managerial improvements to nuisance properties. In this same time period, the office has also successfully secured the closure of eight gang/narcotics locations and recovered $236,000 in costs and fees. The unit was also recently expanded to include six full-time prosecutors after recently securing a new federal grant to focus on Federal and local special abatement operations.
Feuer also announced he's established a new, easy-to-use online method through which residents can report problem properties in their neighborhoods. Reports may be made anonymously.