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13 ARRESTED IN SEX OFFENDER SWEEP IN LANCASTER.

Byline: Greg Botonis Staff Writer

LANCASTER - More than 60 state and local law enforcement officers took to the streets Wednesday morning in a five-hour sweep to check on 65 registered sex offenders living in Lancaster.

The operation resulted in the arrests of 10 sex offenders who weren't living up to the terms of their parole or probation - such as by possession of drugs, weapons or pornography - and three other people who were at the offenders' homes.

``We conduct these to make sure that the registrants are abiding by their court-ordered terms,'' said Deputy Dan Burdick of the Lancaster sheriff's station.

State agents focused on Sierra Highway hotels and motels, where many recently released ex-convicts are given vouchers to stay. Other law enforcement officers checked homes, apartments or trailer parks where registered sex offenders live.

As conditions of their release from prison or jail, parolees and probationers convicted of sex offenses are generally barred from possessing pornographic material, drugs, weapons or any item that might conceal their identity, and are ordered to avoid other sex offenders. Authorities can impose other specific or general terms based on the specific offense.

At one man's apartment, law officers found a large shoe box full of pornographic magazines and videotapes, which they confiscated. The man was arrested on suspicion of a parole violation and taken to the Lancaster sheriff's station jail.

At another parolee's home, a man answered the door clad in boxer shorts and a T-shirt. When he asked whether he could put his pants on before they searched his home, a deputy found about $300 worth of cocaine in the pocket.

The man told deputies the pants and drugs were not his, although identification in his name was in a pocket. The man was taken into custody.

Wednesday's sweep was not in reaction to news reports last week that California Department of Justice records show that authorities have lost track of 44 percent of the state's 33,000 convicted sex offenders, officials said.

``This operation has been in the works for about four months,'' Burdick said. ``This is not a reaction to that report.''

Officials say they know the locations of 97 percent of the 433 sex offenders registered in Lancaster, Quartz Hill, Antelope Acres and Lake Los Angeles. An analyst assigned to the Lancaster sheriff's station keeps track of them, officials said.

Wednesday's sweep involved officers from the Lancaster sheriff's station's Gang Violence Suppression team, California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Corrections, the California Department of Justice, state parole officers and Los Angeles County probation officers.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- 2) Sheriff's deputies, above, escort a registered sex offender who was found with pornographic videotapes and magazines, in violation of the terms of his parole. Left, deputies check a motor home where another offender lives in a Lancaster trailer park; he was not at home.

Greg Botonis/Daily News
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 16, 2003
Words:480
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