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Civic Center Park Renovations Force Drug Dealers Elsewhere

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A disguised Rick Sallinger talks to a man looking for drugs in Sunken Gardens Park (credit: CBS)

A disguised Rick Sallinger talks to a man looking for drugs in Sunken Gardens Park (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – Residents who live in a downtown Denver neighborhood that’s normally quiet and relatively safe are up in arms over the increased presence of drug dealers and drug activity.

Two different men who live near La Alma-Lincoln Park and the Cherry Creek bike path told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger they are concerned about the activity, which became a problem after renovations on Civic Center Park began a few months ago.

Denver’s Civic Center Park has long been known as a virtual supermarket for illegal drugs. With the park closed off the dealing and drug use has moved a few blocks to the southwest.

One of the men initially got suspicious about the activity around a portable toilet.

“I got some of my buddies together and we went into the Porta-Potty and that’s where they were shooting the heroin,” said the man, who wished not to be identified. “(There was) literally 10 to 15 balloons in there, needles, cans to cook with.”

The residents took pictures showing needles and cans to cook the heroin and people shooting up.

needles Civic Center Park Renovations Force Drug Dealers Elsewhere

Needles found in Sunken Gardens Park (credit: CBS)

heroin Civic Center Park Renovations Force Drug Dealers Elsewhere

A man shooting heroin in Sunken Gardens Park (credit: CBS)

“So we decided to go through the park and eradicate the people using heroin.”

“Eradicate, what does that?” Sallinger asked.

“We told them to leave.”

But the problem is continuing.

The locations where the drug use is going on includes a children’s playground inside the park. The other man told Sallinger parents are being forced to rake the sand before they allow kids to play there.

“Parents would just walk this and rake this and pull out five or six needles every time we do this,” he said.

The man also showed Sallinger how the drug users and dealers escape from any police who might come by.

“They run back over here take this rope, and they’ll just take this and lower this down to the river bed.”

Sallinger put on a disguise to get a closer look at the goings-on. He found several people talking about and, in some cases, willing to sell drugs.

“Hondurans, have you seen them?” a man asked Sallinger in Sunken Gardens Park along Speer Boulevard.

It’s believed the man was looking for black tar or brown heroin being sold by Hondurans.

One man Sallinger approached didn’t have heroin, but did have other drugs.

“What do you got?” Sallinger asked.

“I just got weed,” he said.

“Just weed?”

“But I get it from the dispensaries, you know. I mean I got some now, but if you need more than that.”

Sallinger then walked away.

Residents say police have done an excellent job so far trying to push the dealers out.

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