10-Month Drug Sting at Lakeside Park Nets 21 Arrests

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A 10-month investigation into trafficking at Lindo Lake Park in Lakeside resulted in the arrests of 21 people, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department announced Thursday.

Park goers hope the stings send a message to those doing seedy things at their favorite place.

Night and day you'll find visitors of all ages enjoying the park, but deputies at the Lakeside SDSO Substation have long been receiving complaints about drug use and problems associated with homelessness at the park.

"I love it. The lake is right there. There are ducks feeding, it's gorgeous. There is green grass,” Cindy Wittbrodt said, describing the park. She also frequents the park for pickleball.

Visitors know the serene setting also attracts those who might not be here for the views. Leonard Kemp walks his dogs there nightly and recently had to call  911 after discovering an unconscious man.

“There was money lying next to the guy, a watch, one shoe on, one shoe off," Kemp explained.

Wittbrodt said she parks her car close and keeps a good relationship with security.

"Sometimes idle hands are the devil’s workshop," she said.

The drug trafficking investigation focused on the sale of methamphetamine, fentanyl, and heroin in and around the park. The 21 arrests occurred at more than five locations in Lakeside and El Cajon, officials said.

The news was shocking to some, but not everyone.

"It’s probably the tip of the iceberg,” Wittbrodt said.

In addition to the arrests, SDSO investigators said they also confiscated a rifle, shotgun a pistol and one pound of methamphetamine.

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