Man posing as homeless advocate arrested for allegedly selling drugs at Venice encampment
A self-proclaimed homeless advocate has been arrested in the Venice area of Los Angeles after he was found selling drugs to the homeless population, officials said on Friday.
Garry Featherstone, 65, allegedly used a tent near the Venice Bridge Home transitional housing to sell narcotics, according to a Press release Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials.
He runs “Homeless Enterprise” from a tent on Third Avenue where he sells sodas, candy and other snacks and drinks to local homeless people, the sheriff’s department said. “Homeless Enterprise” is registered with the City of Los Angeles Department of Finance.
“This is another clear example of how many people are using the veil of awareness to run criminal enterprises and exploit the already marginalized population of county residents who are homeless,” said Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
The sheriff’s narcotics office opened an investigation after receiving reports of a potential narcotics trafficker who disguised himself as an advocate for the homeless, the statement said.
During their many hours of surveillance, investigators saw Featherstone carry out several “hand-to-hand drug deals”.
On July 22, investigators searched a tent along Third Avenue and Rose Street, as well as a house in the Venice area, and arrested Featherstone on suspicion of possession of phencyclidine (PCP) and methamphetamine. More than $ 15,000 has also been discovered, officials said.
“It’s time to use common sense and regulate public space with compassion. It is time for politicians to stop using the homeless population as a platform and help law enforcement to keep the community safe or out of the way, ”Villanueva said.