September 20th, 2019

Helpless neighbours concerned and scared about drug house

By GILLIAN SLADE on August 24, 2019.

NEWS FILE PHOTO

gslade@medicinehatnews.com@MHNGillianSlade

People living near a drug house in Crescent Heights say they’re exposed to a constant stream of traffic, theft, needles and even people defecating on their lawn.

Andrew (not his real name, the News agreed to protect his identity) lives near this drug house and estimates there are about 40 people a day going in and out.

“They walk up, they show up on bicycles, they show up in vehicles,” said Andrew. “I actually caught somebody last Saturday crapping on my lawn. Yes, I’ve seen it. They throw needles on my lawn, I showed the police.”

There was a needle by the community mailbox that anyone could have stepped on, said Andrew.

“I told a police officer … she did nothing about it. She did not pick it up,” said Andrew.

There is a trailer in the driveway and a sign that either says “open” or “closed,” said Andrew.

“They even have a toilet on the property line,” said Andrew, noting it is like a porta-potty used on a construction site.

Insp. Brent Secondiak, Medicine Hat Police Service, says he is very aware of this drug house. It is one of many in the city.

“There’s more going on than meets the eye but we are working on that house,” said Secondiak.

The open and closed sign, Secondiak says, can be a code for something else taking place.

“We have done warrants on the house, we have been inside … We need something substantial … We have been and are actively working on it,” said Secondiak.

Andrew says people from the drug house broke into his vehicle and stole a bunch of stuff.

“I knew it was them. I called the police. The police did nothing. I went over there and got some of my stuff back. This has been going on for a couple weeks,” said Andrew.

He says some neighbours feel intimidated and are scared to go into their own front yard and to phone police.

Secondiak says there are a few drug houses in Crescent Heights.

“This is one of the ones we target with our organized crime section. We know it is fairly low-level trafficking, which means there’s not kilograms of narcotics going in and out of it, but it is an annoyance for the people that live in the area.”

Brian (not his real name) says it all started more than four years ago.

“You start seeing the traffic, shady people acting funny … windows are smashed on the front of the house.”

Things went missing from his property – the gas for the lawnmower in the shed. The hinge for the padlock had been tampered with. His empty gas can was lying in the carport of the drug house.

“In the garage there were people smoking crystal meth in the glass pipe,” said Brian.

The yard has become a dumping ground and there is a constant stream of girls, said Brian.

He’s concerned about his children.

“My kids are playing … over the fence you hear screaming ‘where’s my money, you’d better have my money’,” said Brian. “My kids are scared. We should not have to live this way.”

Brian and Andrew say they have each called the police on multiple occasions.

Secondiak estimates police have responded “dozens of times” for domestics disputes, suspicious vehicles, drug activity, search warrants, expired licence plates and unauthorized plates.

“This is one of those houses we forward to SCAN (Safer Community And Neighbourhoods) in Calgary. They work to actually shut down a house but it takes time. We have been in contact with SCAN about this house,” said Secondiak, noting it is complex to shut a drug house down.

Even to execute a search warrant they must show reasonable grounds to believe there is a quantity of drugs. A couple grams of cocaine or methamphetamine would be simple possession.

“So when we do search warrants we want to make sure that they’re viable and there’s going to be charges … rather than just appease the neighbourhood. We have to make sure there’s criminal offence and we can substantiate the offence so that it is prosecutable.”

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One Response to “Helpless neighbours concerned and scared about drug house”

  1. Les Landry says:

    Sounds like a city endorsed unauthorized safe injection site that is operating with impunity.


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