HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — Los Angeles police served a search warrant on a vacant Hollywood building suspected to be the site of drug and gun sales.
Police began combing through the Palmer Building, 6362 Hollywood Blvd., at about 3 a.m. Wednesday morning. The building is supposed to be vacant, but has been under investigation for two months, LAPD officials said.
Investigators say officers went floor to floor to clear the four-story building, which is suspected of being the the site of drug use, as well as drug and weapon sales. Dozens of people apparently had been living in the commercial building.
Brielle Gilbert said she was awakened abruptly and told they were being evacuated.
"There people be sharing rooms, there nothing in there but just like maybe a little bit of furniture, no TV, no refrigerator, no nothing," said Brielle Gilbert.
Some people had apparently been paying to live in the building, while others found it a good place to record music.
"Everybody in there is just trying to be in Hollywood, making a living, doing what they love. That's why I'm in there, my fiance, he's a rapper and he makes music," Ramsey Barton said.
By about 7 a.m., police had detained 59 people for questioning. An English bulldog was also taken into custody. One woman said she was cited for trespassing, and 66 people were cited overall.
Makeshift living quarters had been set up in the buildings offices, and guns were found during the sweep.
However, L.A. City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell is putting much of the blame for these conditions on the owner of the building Mehdi Bolour. "He is the stereotypical slumlord, and we're going after him, it's that simple," O'Farrell, whose District 1 includes this part of Hollywood, told CBS2 News.
When CBS2 reporter Dave Lopez tried to speak to someone at Bolour's company Denley Investment & Management, a person behind the door said they had no comment.
"[Bolour] has apparently lost control, and does not have a leadership team in place to manage a building like this," said LAPD Capt. Cory Palka.
Police said a drug raid happened there four months ago.
People who were living there were paying rents ranging from $500 to $1,500. Some told CBS2 they were denied rebates when they asked for them Wednesday.
The Palmer Building was built in 1921. Over the years, it has housed a newspaper, a pet club and an improv theater, but has recently been vacant. Police say the owner could be held legally responsible for not securing the building.
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