Almanac

News - January 13, 2010

Menlo Park man arrested again for drug trafficking

Menlo Park police raided a Belle Haven home and arrested a 30-year-old man on federal drug trafficking charges on Tuesday, Jan. 5, the second time in the past several months that the man has been charged with that crime.

Police Sergeant Eric Cowans and Officer Ed Soares were on their way to carry out a raid on the home of Ronald Hampton around noon when Mr. Hampton's car cut in front of them, according to Sgt. Cowans. They followed Mr. Hampton into East Palo Alto, where they arrested him before returning to the home on 300 Hamilton Ave. with about 10 other officers to carry out the raid.

"It was just a coincidence" that they spotted Mr. Hampton, Sgt. Cowans said.

Police would not reveal how much methamphetamine they found in Mr. Hampton's home, but it was enough to warrant federal charges, according to Sgt. Cowans.

Mr. Hampton was originally targeted in the March raids on the "Taliban" gang in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and other Bay Area cities, an operation that netted about 40 arrests. At the time of his most recent arrest, Mr. Hampton was on federal probation stemming from his original arrest after the "Taliban" raid, Sgt. Cowans said.

Asked whether he expects other members of the gang to begin operating again in the region after serving their sentences, Mr. Cowans said: "It depends on the person. Some people take it seriously, and we never see them again; others don't. It's hard to say."

He called Mr. Hampton's earlier sentence of probation a "slap on the wrist," saying that some of the others arrested in the raids are serving sentences of 10 years or longer.

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