Pubdate: Thu, 03 Oct 2002
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2002 San Francisco Examiner
Author: Richard Byrne Reilly


Undercover cops seized thousands of illegal crack pipes and an array of 
other drug paraphernalia in a series of raids of Market Street souvenir 
shops on Wednesday.

Also confiscated were scales for weighing cocaine and fake 24-ounce Pepsi 
bottles that break in two to reveal a secret stash inside -- a popular item 
among street dealers. One shop hid the illegal goods in hollowed-out books 
that lined the shelf behind the counter.

The owners of two stores, a souvenir shop and a shop that sells pagers and 
telephone cards, were cited for selling illegal drug paraphernalia and 
received summons to appear in court to answer the charges. They were not 
taken into custody.

An employee at one store that tried to sell a crack pipe to an undercover 
cop posing as a buyer also was cited. The man accused the cops of 
harassment and shot them a scowl as they carried box after box of 
confiscated items to a marked patrol car.

"It is wrong that they do this," the man said, holding the citation in his 

The raids are part of the Police Department's continuing efforts to take 
back the rundown stretch of Market between the Powell Street BART station 
and 8th Street from the drug dealers and junkies who call it home.

An officer involved in the raid, Lewis Wong, said it's illegal to buy or 
sell paraphernalia related to felony drugs like heroin or crack. Cops 
didn't touch the hundreds of bongs and pipes used to smoke marijuana, since 
they could be used to smoke tobacco.

"There's no good reason you'd be buying one of these pipes except to smoke 
crack or meth," Wong said.

Workers at one of the raided shops, City Souvenir, watched anxiously as 
cops carted off the confiscated items and said they will fight to have the 
merchandise returned.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens