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Alleged opium operation busted

April 14, 2004

Darleene Barrientos

Eight people were arrested on suspicion of opium possession, narcotic

sales and distribution after Glendale Police wrapped up a six-month

investigation into an alleged large-scale drug operation.

Glendale Police's vice/narcotics team investigated the alleged

ring for six months, executing 20 search warrants and 10 arrest

warrants, one of which was served March 12 at a home in the 3100

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block of Charing Cross Place in Chevy Chase Canyon.

Glendale Police called in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

to assist with the investigation's drug smuggling and money

laundering aspect, agency spokeswoman Virginia Trice said.

During the investigation, about 15 pounds of opium was seized

along with $150,000 in cash, Glendale Police spokeswoman Agent

Leticia Chang said. The suspects include Alfred Avans DerGregorian,

61, and Alain Avans DerGregorian, 35, and each was being held at the

Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles on $1-million bail. Also

arrested were Soleman Sason Yashar and Beahnam Azimi, Chang said. The

suspects are from Glendale, Encino, North Hollywood, Los Angeles and

Granada Hills. No further information was available about the four

additional suspects.

More information about the case will be given during a news

conference today, police officials said.

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