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Arlington adopts anti-drug zone for Smokey Point

Arlington city leaders are taking a new approach to cleaning up some troublesome hot spots of drug activity. On Monday night, the City Council unanimously approved a “stay out of designated area,” or SODA, for the retail corridor at Smokey Point. (Photo: KOMO News)

ARLINGTON, Wash. – City leaders are taking a new approach to cleaning up some troublesome hot spots of drug activity.

On Monday night, the Arlington City Council unanimously approved a “stay out of designated area,” or SODA, for the retail corridor at Smokey Point.

Shoppers have said the rampant drug use and sales are easy to see at the edges of parking lots and quiet corners along the business district.

“It's like a rave going on in the parking lot,” said Gregg Winter, who lives in Arlington. “People sleeping, people peeing, people defecating. People passed out on the curb laying down twitching."

Under a SODA, people charged for drug offenses committed at Smokey Point would be banned from the zone, or face immediate arrest if seen there again.

“It really is targeting specific individuals that really are a menace to the community, the drug offenders in particular,” said Arlington Police Chief Jonathan Ventura.

Sill, there are concerns the lack of jail space will make arrests meaningless, and that the SODA might just push the problem to another part of town.

“It seems like it's just a band aid to fix a much larger problem,” Winter said.

The SODA takes effect in about a week. Police said they will keep a close watch so that drug trafficking doesn't uproot to another area.

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