14 sex offenders arrested in roundup

Aug. 29, 2012 at 4:44 PM
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WILMINGTON, Calif., Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Police in California say they arrested 14 sex offenders for parole violations in an area where sex offenders live because other areas are off limits to them.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation parole administrator Joe Martinez told The (Torrance, Calif.) Daily Breeze the arrests were made in Wilmington, where sex offenders live in a relatively high concentration because California law heavily restricts where they can reside.

"Prior to 2006, you didn't have this clustering of sex offenders," Martinez said. "When Jessica's law was passed, it prohibited any sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of any K-12 school or park, and there's not a lot of areas that comply with those law requirements."

Tuesday night's raid -- Operation Safe Haven -- involved federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. Officers checked on 60 sex offenders who live within a three-block area near the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, the newspaper said.

Martinez said searches turned up pornographic material, cocaine, marijuana and a knife in motel rooms and apartments where the sex offenders live.

The raids came after residents complained at a town hall meeting about increased crime and the high number of sex offenders living in the area, the newspaper said.

Police have been looking for a suspect since July who exposed himself to two girls walking to school.

"What'll happen is that the sex offenders will be placed in custody, and on a parole hold," he said. "So even if they had a million dollars, they cannot bail out of jail for a while."

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