17 March 2009

Carbon Canyon Crime Capsule #4

This will actually be a capsule, as in short, but I found a 15 October 1983 article in the Los Angeles Times that concerned a problem that has been going on for decades, whether it be allegations of Depression-era bootlegging or 1960s and after drug manufacuring, sale, and use. In this case the headline was "Restaurant Owner, 4 Others Arrested in Sale of Cocaine."

Here's the relevant text:

The owner of a Carbon Canyon restaurant and four other men were arrested earlier in the week after they sold undercover officers a pound of high-grade cocaine with an estimated value of $75,000, police said Friday. Two loaded handguns and a throwing knife were also seized.

Brea police Lt. William Lentini said the arrests Monday night capped a monthlong investigation.

Charges of weapons violations, suspicion of cocaine sales and conspiracy to sell narcotics were leveled against the men from Chino, Pomona, Garden Grove, La Habra and Christopher Cromwell, 38, of Brea, of whom "police said Cromwell owns La Vida Hot Springs were the alleged drug sale took place."

Within a few years, another criminal episode, with a far heightened sense of drama and intrigue, took place just down the rode, the murder of Horace McKenna, which was profiled in a "crime capsule" blog entry back in early September.

At any rate, there must be something about the real or perceived distance and anonymity of canyons that leads people to believe that illcit activity is easier to conduct in such an environment. In this case, Mr. Cromwell and his associates were shut down, but who knows what is going on right now that hasn't been detected.

Wonder what happened to the "Carbon Canyon Five"?


Jonathan said...

What is the carbon canyon 5? I'm very interested in this story because that was my friends dad and my neighbor Chris Cromwell.

Paul said...

Hello Jonathan, the "Carbon Canyon Five" was just my little attempt at humor. If you know anything about what happened with the case, such as any trial or other outcome, I'd like to know about it. Thanks!

leslie said...

I worked at LaVida restaurant with Chris Cromwell on and off from 1976-1980. I lived in Sleepy Hollow on Rosemary Lane. Chris was a great friend and had a thriving business until his arrest. Sadly, Chris passed away a few years ago from a heart attack.

Zachary Cromwell said...

Chris Cromwell is my dad and was an amazing human being. That restaurant was his life and he was set up by a so called friend that double crossed him. My dad has passed now so I can talk about it. Did he sell cocaine and weed out of La Vida? Hell yes it was a biker bar/restaurant and those things were way more excepted back then. The funny thing is that the story he told me is that he had a butload more than a pound of cocaine but the police just misplaced it. Haha yeah right! I smell a thief in the house! Crooked cops oh no way. He sure as hell wasn't going to speak up and say hey I had way more cocaine than that.
He wasn't stupid by any means and I have always looked up to him. He was the hardest working man I habe ever met and his whole life and always told my mom he would be a millionaire one day. After La Vida and Jail time he went on to create his very sucessful company Merit Masonry Inc. in Wildomar, Ca. I continued to run his masonry business after his passing until the econemy collapsed and I had to shut it down a few years back. The day they arrested my dad was the end of a very special time for the people that Loved that atmosphere and La Vida restaurant. I will never forget that place and the people that made it their home away from home.