7 Bars Raided, 14 Arrested in Drug Sting

Officers say they're sending a message and expect more arrests

By Michelle Wayland
|  Saturday, Oct 23, 2010  |  Updated 9:31 AM PDT
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7 Bars Raided, 14 Arrested in Drug Sting

NBC San Diego

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Dozens of police officers raided several businesses around Escondido on Friday night and arrested 14 people in a large-scale undercover investigation.

“It’s very dark. There are a lot of things that are going on here that are not legal,” said Lt. Craig Carter.

The arrests follow a six-month investigation involving the sale of illegal drugs.

The bars at the center of the investigation were Pounders on West Grand Avenue, El Rodeo Bar on North Rose Street, Thee Spot on West Valley Parkway, Club Anitas on East Valley Parkway, Senor Taquito on East Valley Parkway, Escondido Sports Pub on South Escondido Boulevard and Woodies on North Escondido Boulevard.

“ABC undercover investigators were able to make a total of 32 separate purchases of methamphetamine, cocaine, illegal prescription drugs, and high-grade marijuana from employees and patrons on several different occasions,” said Lt. C. Carter.

Lura Gentry Banks, 48, Jerome Wayne Peter Benvento, 28, Albert Juan Ornelas, 38, Alicia Lopez, 25, Mireya Lopez, 28, Yesenia Perez, 19, Elvia Rosario Sanchez-Rios, 23, Shameka Jeannetta Johnson, 30, Marcus Boshawn Cotton, 30 and Thomas Curtis Lanham, 41 were arrested at the scene.

The names of the other four arrested were not available.

“Having this kind of an impact is really going to send a message. Not only to this bar, but other bars in this city that we’re not stopping here and there are going to be more bodies that are coming out of this and we’re not going to stop until we get this thing cleaned up,” Lt. Carter.

This investigation is ongoing.

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