Pubdate: Thu, 7 Sep 2000
Source: Corpus Christi Caller-Times (TX)
Copyright: 2000 Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Address: P.O. Box 9136, Corpus Christi, TX 78469-9136
Author: Mary Moreno, staff writer
Bookmark: MAP's link to Texas articles is:


National Guard to level 20 homes in 2 weeks as part of effort to rid
neighborhoods of sites frequented by drug traffickers

It only took a few minutes for two bulldozers to level a reputed crack

When the bulldozers came to rest atop the ruins of the white frame house,
students from nearby Shaw Elementary School erupted in cheers and applause
after witnessing the start of Operation Clean Sweep Wednesday morning.

The home on 2818 Soledad St. was the first of 20 abandoned, uninhabitable
homes that will be demolished by the National Guard during the next two
weeks as part of this year's Operation Clean Sweep. The homes are being
torn down by the city with funding from several businesses.

"It gets back to improving the community," said Rich Tuttle, a spokesman
for Koch Petroleum Group, one of the sponsors.

Other sponsors include AEP-CPL, BFI Waste Systems and Citgo Refining and

Operation Clean Sweep began three years ago in an effort to rid the city of
buildings identified by police and neighbors as known places used by drug
traffickers or drug users, Corpus Christi police Cmdr. David Torres said.

Since then 100 homes have been leveled.

"We identified the houses where drugs were freely being sold," Police Chief
Pete Alvarez told the crowd gathered for the demolition. "We will not
tolerate drug dealers in our streets, in our city."

As they waited under an intense morning sun for the house's demolition, the
children shifted their weight from one foot to the other and wiped sweat
from their brows. And while the day's temperatures had yet to hit their
peak of 95 degrees, standing for nearly half an hour in the sun and
listening to speeches made the children hot and restless.

Still, watching the house come crashing down elicited gasps of "ooh" and
"cool" from the children.

"It looked kind of great," 10-year-old Anthony Lopez said.

The Rev. C.E. Richardson of Calvary First Baptist Church praised the
efforts to rid the city of a "dangerous evil that is destroying good minds
and good people."

Nueces County Sheriff Larry Olivarez and Mayor Loyd Neal were among the
officials present at the demolition.

Torres said homeowners must consent to having the houses demolished.

Since the houses are in need of extensive repair, many find it better to
have the houses destroyed, he said.

Destroying a house usually costs about $5,000, but through Operation Clean
Sweep, all costs are borne by corporate sponsors.

"Everything is to the advantage of the homeowner," Torres said.
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MAP posted-by: Eric Ernst