Drug abuse damages all sectors of society. Drugs destroy
individual lives, break families apart, and are very often the
motivating factor behind crimes.
To combat the drug problem, the District Attorney’s Office
pursues several strategies. The Office participates in Drug Court,
an effective diversion program for drug abusers. When cases are not
appropriate for Drug Court, the District Attorney’s Office
effectively prosecutes drug cases.
In addition, the District Attorney’s Office has established the
Major Narcotics Division, a team of specially trained
attorneys responsible for prosecuting significant narcotics
trafficking organizations in Los Angeles County. This Division
ensures that highly effective prosecutors represent the people of
the State of California in cases against drug traffickers most
responsible for the drug supply. The Division also is responsible
for processing all applications for wiretaps, an effective
information tool against drug traffickers and dealers.
The Major Narcotics Division prosecutes the following types of
- Seizures of large quantities of narcotics, such as cocaine and
- Mid-level dealers involved in a conspiracy to distribute
- Clandestine lab cases, including cases with multiple
defendants conspiring to manufacture drugs or individuals
supplying chemicals necessary for the manufacture of drugs
- Any narcotics case resulting from a federal or state wiretap
- Specialty narcotics cases involving informants; more than
$100,000; reverse stings; narcotics facilitators; or murder
Drug Endangered Children (DEC) Response Team
The clandestine manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine
has created a public health and safety crisis in Los Angeles County.
One aspect of that crisis jeopardizes the safety of children long
before the drugs hit the streets. More than 80 percent of all meth
labs seized are found in homes, garages, apartments, motels, or
mobile homes where children are often present. These labs, stocked
with toxic chemicals and at high risk for explosions, expose
children to highly dangerous living conditions.
To address this issue, the District Attorney’s Office and
Department of Children and Family Services have teamed with the Los
Angeles Interagency Police Apprehension Crime Task Force to create
the Drug Endangered Children (DEC) Response Team. The DEC Response
Team specializes in seizing labs that manufacture methamphetamine
and provides a coordinated response to the crisis of children found
in home meth labs. To date, more than 600 children have been rescued
from meth labs. All have received specialized medical and social
services to diagnose and treat the physical and emotional effects of
In addition, the District Attorney’s Office has vertically
prosecuted 420 criminal defendants involved in the manufacture of
methamphetamine, meaning one highly trained prosecutor handled each
case from beginning to end.
In 2003, the District Attorney’s Drug Endangered Children
Response Team was named a Top Ten Award Winner by the Los Angeles
County’s Quality and Productivity Commission at its annual awards
program. The DEC Response Team has saved Los Angeles County $15
million in costs. More importantly, it has potentially saved the
lives of hundreds of children.