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Suspected skid row drug dealer arrested on gun, drug charges

Guns A suspected skid row drug dealer was in custody Wednesday on gun and drug charges after Los Angeles police recovered a small cache of weapons from his downtown hotel room, along with evidence he was packaging cocaine and marijuana to sell, police said.

Inside the hotel room of Jimmy Joe Dukes at the epicenter of skid row, LAPD detectives last Friday seized five guns, including two shotguns and one stolen handgun, police said. Detectives suspected the longtime skid row resident was dealing drugs out of his Southern Hotel room at 5th and San Julian streets, said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon.

Dukes, 55, initially admitted he possessed one handgun and denied having any drugs, Vernon said. After he allowed detectives to search his room, however, they found four more guns, scales and equipment coated with cocaine and marijuana.

The detectives also recovered plastic bags for selling the drugs, ammunition for the guns, brass knuckles and more than $800 cash, Vernon said.

The skid row area, with its large homeless population, remains a relatively high drug-traffic area as dealers seek to prey on the most vulnerable in society. With a surge in LAPD policing there in recent years, dealers have been forced to operate off the streets.

Dukes has a history of two dozen arrests, stretching back 35 years, on suspicion of assault, drug dealing, and gun possession, according to police. His only felony conviction, however, was in 2004 for welfare fraud, Vernon said.

“Arrests like this one are important and emblematic for two reasons,” he said. “These arrests throw criminals’ guns into a hole, never to see the light of day, and they truly show the term ‘nonviolent’ offender is a misnomer.”

The Los Angeles district attorney’s office has charged Dukes with four counts related to firearms possession, including being a convicted felon in possession of a gun. He was also charged with one count of possession of cocaine for sale. He is being held in lieu of $105,000 bail.

According to the LAPD, skid row crime is down about 35% compared with 2005. Gun crimes remain relatively rare, accounting for about 3% of major crimes in downtown last year.

“Every gun police take off the street is a potential murder averted,” Vernon said.

-- Richard Winton

Photo: Guns confiscated from a skid row hotel. Credit: Los Angeles Police Department

Comments () | Archives (8)

ewww $800 in cash he was bigtime drug dealer...great bust.

I guarantee you, this guy's hotel room was being paid for by the taxpayer under Section 8. Now, he gets to live courtesy of the taxpayer, again, at Alcatraz. Ha-ha-ha.

Wow...this might create the Panic in Needle Park deal again. Why is this news again?

He maybe not a big time drug dealer but he is part of the homeless promblem in the area, 1, he prays on those who are addicted to the drugs they spend whatever money they can get on the drugs, which the homeless who are addicted are mainly the ones on the street are the sameones who beg for money on the streets and people give them change cause they feel bad for them, they are also part of the problem they give them money and they expect more people to help support their drug habit. He maybe only had 800 on him at the time of the arrest but I am sure he just paid for a resupply of narcotoics so he can get more drugs to sell.

Just a note, they don't use Alcatraz anymore, wake up it's 2010 not the 1940s. Just thought I would let you know that from your post.

alcatraz is not a prison,hasnt been for many years. Was a federal lock up anyway.

sounds more like inside job hmmmmmmmmm.........

I'm glad the guy's in jail, BUT, seriously. With a criminal history going back 35 years (in this electronic world, most of your arrest history, even without a conviction, is visible to potential employers when they do a background check), where would he find legitimate employment, in a down economy, when people with college degrees and no criminal history are applying for the same jobs? Where else could he go but Skid Row and back to drug dealing once he was released from jail?

Thank you, LAPD and all involved in making the streets of Skid Row safer. This is a strong example of your good work and the need for your officers to continue the Safer Cities Initiative that is helping transform the streets of Skid Row from a Mardis Gras on Crack to a true neighborhood that one day may live up to the name Hope Central. Bless you,


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