Latoya Monte – Camden Council Press Release

Backdated from previous BA website

A prolific crack dealer was banned from parts of the London Borough of Camden after eyewitness accounts and CCTV evidence helped secure an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) against her. Click on title for the full story………….

News

    Press Office
    London Borough of Camden
    Room 303
    Town Hall
    Judd Street
    London WC1H 9JE
    Tel:  020 7974 2464
Fax: 020 7974 5718
susannah.agathou@camden.gov.uk


06/09/2005    Immediate

ASBO FOR DRUG DEALER CAUGHT ON CAMERA    05/253

A prolific crack dealer was banned from parts of the London Borough of Camden after eyewitness accounts and CCTV evidence helped secure an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) against her.

Camden Council and Camden Police were granted the order against Latoya Monte at Highbury Corner Magistrate’s court on Friday (2 September).  Under the terms of her ASBO she is banned from various parts of the boroughs of Camden, Westminster and Islington that are drugs hot-spots.  She is also banned from carrying and dealing prohibited drugs or associating knowingly with anyone else carrying illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia.

The court was presented with eyewitness accounts and CCTV evidence of Miss Monte passing substances from her mouth to well-known drug addicts in broad daylight.  She was often found with large amounts of money when searched by police and swallowed hard – as if to get rid of the substance in her mouth when approached.  On one occasion she assaulted a police officer who was trying to see if her mobile phone was stolen.

Ms Monte accepted that her actions amounted to anti-social behaviour and did not contest the evidence presented to the court.

A local community representative from the West End Drugs Partnership who attended the hearing said:

“Latoya Monte is a well known and very recognisable Class A drug dealer in Camden Town and Bloomsbury where she was the main dealer in the area for many months, dealing openly on the street and oblivious to residents and workers and passers-by.  She operated with a gang of runners in the area and has been seen many times handling large amounts of cash. It was obvious to any passer-by that she was ‘in charge’ and seemed to think she controlled the streets she operated in. She is a prolific, aggressive and very greedy drug dealer who we would prefer to see behind bars.

“This ASBO is the bare minimum that this women deserves considering the amount of misery she has caused to our communities, not to mention the vast amount of community, police and council time required to get her into court.

“We hope the police and council will continue to pursue drug dealers such as Latoya Monte – they are a danger to the public and flaunt common decency, we do not want them on our streets.”

Cllr Theo Blackwell, Deputy Leader of Camden Council said: “Hand-to-mouth dealing makes it very hard for police to get evidence when it can be easily hidden and swallowed. The ASBO puts the breaks on this sly type of dealing which has a profound effect on the local community.  Huge thanks must go to the community members who contributed evidence to help us get this ASBO.

“Camden Council has been granted just under 190 ASBOs, the vast majority for adults and related to drugs.  These work alongside longer-term treatment programmes and crime prevention projects.  Residents in areas like King’s Cross have enjoyed dramatic drops in and anti-social behaviour and around a 60 per cent drop in street crime as a result.  And one King’s Cross sex worker, now in education, credits her ASBO with saving her life.

He added: “Camden uses ASBOs only where they are appropriate.  A case like this clearly shows how ASBOs have again proved a very useful tool in protecting the community and preventing anti-social behaviour.”

Pc Issy Webster, local community officer and the lead officer in the case, said:

“This case is an excellent example of how an ASBO can be used to protect the community from serious anti-social behaviour and how the police can adopt different tactics to tackle the problem of drug dealing, which is taken extremely seriously by Camden.  The prohibitions will ensure that Monte is banned from the main drug markets in Central London and that she must address her behaviour or more action will be taken against her in the future.”

Ms Monte will have to apply to the court to lift the ASBO prohibitions.  Breach of an ASBO is a criminal offence and risks up to 5 years in prison.

-ends-

Notes to editors:

For further information contact Susannah Agathou, Camden Council press office on 020 7974 2464, Susannah.agathou@camden.gov.uk

Latoya Monte is of no fixed abode and gave different dates of birth in court and to the police.  The date of birth given in court is 2/8/1987 and she had previously told police she was 22 years old.

In addition to using ASBOs to curb the impact of anti-social behaviour caused by drugs on the community, Camden Council and the police work with partners to address drugs and the root causes of drug misuse.  Examples of activities are:

•    Police operations against drug dealers carried out every day in the borough – resulting in almost 200 ‘Class A’ drug dealers charged over the last year.
•    Crack houses can now be closed almost immediately, which means there are significantly fewer crack houses in Camden than in the past.
•    A group of professionals working to address drugs problems meet regularly to keep an eye on people on the streets. The group make sure help is offered to change their behaviour and warnings given that they face enforcement if offers of help are rejected and their anti-social behaviour continues.
•    Environmental improvements, including better lighting and re-design of areas to deter crime.  Five hundred new ‘white light’ streetlights are about to be installed in Camden Town, with more planned for other areas of the borough.
•    Twelve Street Wardens provide re-assurance patrols in Camden Town, Bloomsbury and King’s Cross.  They have helped gather evidence for ASBOs and set up football clubs for local young people to give them a better alternative to hanging around on the street.
•    24 hour CCTV cameras and a roving CCTV van to help deter crime and gather evidence.
    Camden’s Drug Action Team has commissioned a range of drug treatment facilities for Camden residents including a rapid access treatment centre to ensure the most chaotic and problematic drug users are treated immediately.  Non-Camden residents are referred to treatment in the area where they live.  In 2004, 2,281 drug users accessed treatment to overcome their addiction.
    All adults and teenagers aged 14-17 years old in Camden charged for ‘trigger crimes’ are tested for drugs on arrest to ensure their drug use is identified and treatment to tackle their addiction put in place.
    Many Camden hostels have liaison drug workers to ensure homeless hostel residents are able to access treatment services.
    A team of outreach workers – the Street Services Team – work with people on the streets to ensure they have the opportunity to access accommodation, treatment, education and training.
    Camden Council is also piloting an innovative scheme with Pentonville Prison to help offenders on their release access drug treatment services and accommodation.

Advice on how members of the public can help:

•    If you see a drug deal happening, don’t intervene.  Try to remember the details and report them to the police or a street warden. If violence is being used call 999.
•    If you are offered drugs directly keep your own safety in mind and walk past.  Try to remember the details and report them to the police or a street warden.
•    If you see a needle, call the council’s Drug Action Response Team (DART) on 0800 032 3278. Do not move the needle yourself.
•    Give money to charities rather than to those begging on the street – evidence shows 86 per cent beg for money for drugs and alcohol. To find out more visit http://www.killingwithkindness.com
•    If you are worried about the welfare of drug users and rough sleepers call the Street Services Team on 020 7833 7970. They work on the front line providing help directly to people on the streets 24 hours a day.

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