Getting the drug traffickers out of Eastvale and the I-15 freeway

Eastvale was once a completely rural area, with farms and agricultural fields dominating the area until the turn of the century where a sea of single family homes transformed the region. Currently, Eastvale is a robust bedroom community. Jobs in Ontario to the north, Corona and the Metrolink system to the south, and government services in downtown Riverside are a bus ride or short drive away. Eastvale can also boast over its median family income of more than $100,000.

With those assets, criminals are exploiting ways to hide out in the area, turning vacant rental properties into drug production houses and using the I-15 freeway corridor as a means to transport illegal marijuana into the black drug market. The recent subprime mortgage crisis led to an upswing of rentals. At least 18 pot houses had been discovered in the city alone since the beginning of 2013, and police officials report that there are more houses being watched and investigated.

The City of Eastvale is exploring options to track down on this crime wave. One idea floating around city hall is better regulating landlords and rental properties. Such a notion is subject to debate. One fact that needs to be considered is that there are legit and law abiding landlords who are in no way affiliated with this type of activity; they should not be paying the price. With a strong local law enforcement presence, the focus should be catching the illegal drug operators through an intelligence-driven means, giving legit landlords the power and immunity to immediately evict such criminal activity from their properties, busting criminal landlords assisting in the practice, and setting a floor for mandatory jail time for such drug operations. Programs to keep our youth away from drug abuse must also continue in our schools.

Such a crime wave has happened before in the young city. We all remember in 2006, MSNBC aired To Catch a Predator in Riverside, which actually took place at an Eastvale home on the southeast side of town on Riverboat Drive. 50 suspected child predators were busted, the most caught during the show's run. California now has some the hardest penalties for lewd acts against children and similar crimes against minors. There is no question that locking up drug trafficking criminals would contribute toward getting such behavior out of Eastvale let alone the rest of Southern California. Our transportation network, let alone the houses in our Inland Empire cities, should not be facilitating these kinds of criminal activities.