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LC Man Arrested At Hampstead Road HomeBy Jennifer Berry

March 03, 2005

Hampstead Road is a quiet, residential street in an affluent section of La Cañada Flintridge. Just off busy Chevy Chase Drive, it is home to large, gated estates. As such, it's one of the city's less-traveled roads.

Last Thursday, the calm serenity of the street was disrupted when law enforcement agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives served a North Carolina search warrant on a house in the 4000 block of Hampstead Road, according to the Charlotte, North Carolina, District Attorney's office, which issued the warrant after federal grand jury indicted eight North Carolina men and one La Cañada Flintridge man.

"It's a very quiet, residential street. Except for the residents, there's not that much traffic. You don't expect to see an ATF raid," said another resident of the 4000 block of Hampstead Road, who asked not to be named on the advice of his attorney. "It's pretty intimidating when you have large numbers of men running around in black. It's pretty frightening. This took us all by surprise."

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La Cañadan Hovannes Aram Blikian, 27, was the last of nine to be arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, both classified as Schedule II drugs, and 500 grams or more of a drug known as ecstasy, a Schedule I drug. The rest of the men arrested in connection with the indictment reside in North Carolina. A federal seal on the indictment was lifted after Blikian's arrest.

According to ATF and the Charlotte DA's office, the men allegedly conspired to distribute the drugs at various locations within western North Carolina over an almost three-year period.

According to an ATF statement, 36 firearms, 9 kilograms of cocaine and $100,000 was taken from the Hampstead Road residence.

The resident of the neighboring house said he noticed a group of men dressed as members of a public works crew arrive on the street close to 6 a.m. He didn't think anything of it; with the recent water damage public works crews had been at the site the day before. After conversing with the men, the resident said he noticed them entering the property at 4020 Hampstead Road just as he noticed a black-and-white, marked sheriff's vehicle parked with its lights on down the street, something he thought was odd for the quiet street.

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