One of the many Hollywood deadbeats who patronizes Skid Row drug dealers, Brad Renfro, was arrested today for suspicion of buying heroin near 5th and Main - in an alley just off 6th and Spring.
Unfortunately, the star of a major reality show whose limo makes regular stops at 5th and Main was not one of those arrested today nor were two Hollywood types each of whom were recently photographed with Arianna Huffington at her house during the Gawker party nabbed during either of their night time heroin runs.
Also missed was a music star who appeared a recent political fund raiser that had scheduling problems and a major Hollywood type player known for work on children's issues who also has the habit. But the good news is that the new cameras have been taping 24 hours a day for some time now - so soon they will all be joining Renfro in the joint!
Drug Busts on Skid Row Net 13 Arrests, Plus a Hollywood Actor
Richard WintonTimes Staff Writer 8:16 PM PAST, December 22, 2005
Undercover detectives posing as drug dealers launched the first phase of a new Los Angeles Police Department cricketing on Skid rows massive drug marketplace Thursday by arresting 14 buyers including a Hollywood actor undercover cops masqueraded as street dealers in scruffy clothing as they lured unsuspecting buyers to purchase fake heroin balloons along Spring and 6th streets.
About every five to 10 minutes, the officers made another arrest, yelling the words "Cancel Christmas" as a signal to uniformed officers to move in and make the arrest.
Among those arrested on suspicion of felony attempted possession was actor Brad Renfro, the star of such films as "The Client" with Susan Sarandon, "Apt Pupil" and co-star of "Ghost World."
The Los Angeles Police Department invited several reporters along on the operation with hopes that the publicity would make buyers from other parts of the city think twice before coming downtown to purchase drugs." The message we want to send is: You don't come buy your drugs downtown unless you want to end up in jail," said LAPD Capt. Andy Smith, who ran the operation.
The arrests pushed total drug bookings in and around Skid Row above the 6,000 mark. The area makes up 20 percent of all drug crimes in the city. Police Chief William J. Bratton and other city leaders have said a huge challenge in cleaning up Skid Row is removing the drug dealing that occurs just steps away from drug treatment centers where homeless people attempt to get clean.
And the first step in fixing the problem, the chief said, is making Skid Row less attractive to outsiders with money to come in and get their supply. On Monday, three people -- including a 75-year-old woman -- died of apparent drug overdoses on Skid Row, one right next to where the LAPD sting took place.
The deaths, Smith said, underscored the need to remove available drugs from the area cricketing is part of a new campaign by city and state leaders that also includes stiffening penalties for drug sales within Skid Row and establishing a community court that can quickly adjudicate criminal cases there now, Smith said, officers see the same buyers come back over and over again even after they are arrested.
"We can see someone seven times before they are sent to state prison," he said. "If they get sent to county jail, the usually only spend a few days there, and then they are back on the street."The busts on Thursday occurred in an area known as "heroin alley."
It's on the southern edge of Skid Row just blocks from high-rise office towers, the Biltmore Hotel and the city's winter ice-skating rink. Renfro, 23, was dressed in cargo pants and what appeared to be a military uniform when he emerged onto Spring Street.
He allegedly purchased the fake heroin balloons from the officers and was taken into custody. Renfro is a one-time child star who rose to notice as a star of the "The Client," the 1994 movie version of the John Grisham novel. He went on to star in independent movies "Telling Lies in America" and "Bully" and co-starred in "Sleepers" and "Tom and Huck" (he played Huck Finn). He was booked into the LAPD jail division Thursday evening.