July 14, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Homeless Advocate Arrested Near Venice Bridge Home Shelter on Suspicion of Dealing Drugs (UPDATED)

65-year-old Garry Featherstone accused of selling meth, PCP

By Sam Catanzaro

A self-described homeless outreach advocate was recently arrested near the Venice Bridge Home shelter on suspicion of dealing PCP and meth to the local homeless population.

According to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD), Narcotics Bureau investigators served a two-location search warrant in Venice last Thursday after receiving information of a potential narcotics dealer disguising himself as a homeless outreach advocate. In a press release, the LASD said the investigation identified that narcotics dealer, 65-year-old Garry Featherstone, had been using a tent to sell drugs to Venice’s homeless population. According to the LASD, the tent was in close proximity to the “Venice Bridge Home” homeless shelter. 

“Investigators conducted countless hours of surveillance of Featherstone and saw him complete several hand-to-hand narcotics transactions. Featherstone masquerades as a homeless outreach advocate while supplying homeless individuals with narcotics,” reads a statement from the LASD. 

On Thursday afternoon, investigators conducted the search warrant operation on a tent near 3rd Avenue and Rose Street, as well as a Venice residence, and arrested Featherstone for possession of phencyclidine (PCP) for sale and possession of methamphetamine for sale. Over 15,000 dollars in U.S. currency was also recovered. 

“Featherstone, a self-proclaimed homeless advocate, operates ‘Homeless Enterprise’ from a tent on 3rd Avenue, where he sells sodas, candy, and other snacks and beverages to the local homeless population, ”reads the LASD statement. 

According to the LASD, “Homeless Enterprise” is registered with the city of Los Angeles Finance Department.

“This is another clear example of how several people are using the veil of outreach to run criminal enterprises and exploit the already marginalized population of county residents who are experiencing homelessness,” said Sheriff Alex Villanueva in a statement following the arrest. “It’s time for common sense, compassionate regulation of public space. It’s time for politicians to stop using the homeless population as a platform and for them to either help law enforcement keep the community safe or get out of the way.”

Featherstone was later released on Monday and wrote a handful of Facebook posts denying wrongdoing, characterizing the arrest as part of a reelection strategy by Sheriff Villanueva

“I was in possession of a large amount of money, Somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000. It was my intention to purchase a catering truck, however, i never got the chance. I withdrew $7500.00 from Wells Fargo Bank on June 28, 2021. On July 19, 2021, i was at the Hollywood Casino playing poker when i hit the Jackpot. The jackpot was worth $43,000 dollars, but my share was $8600.00. This is the money i had on me,” reads a portion of one of the posts. “If the Supervisors had the power to fire him, he would have been fired a long time ago. Since he’s taken office, he has refused to deal with the gangs within his department. He has made several blunders, and right now he is in the dog house. So how does the Sheriff get out of the dog house? He says he’s going to send his deputies down to Venice to take care of the homeless problem.”

In addition, Featherstone says that he filed a complaint against the LASD on July 12 for violations of his civil rights after Deputies harassed him and a friend in the parking lot of a Lincoln Hardware Store.

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