Friday, August 12, 2011

POP Unit Shutters Alleged Drug House

Three arrested, including homeowner, in EPD raid

By Charles Douglas

Humboldt Sentinel

EUREKA - A homeowner and two tenants were arrested yesterday for running an alleged drug house -- one visited three times before in the previous ten months by local law enforcement.

At about 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, the Problem Oriented Policing (POP) unit of the Eureka Police Department executed a warrant to search a home on M Street, and detained five subjects, including two visitors who'd just driven up in a vehicle. In their subsequent search, law enforcement found small quantities of methamphetamine and heroin, along with meth pipes, needles, baggies, a scale and other evidence which EPD claimed in a release is "highly indicative of drug sales activity."

Constance Lee Foley, 58, was arrested for allowing her home to be used for drug sales. According to EPD Sergeant Steve Watson, Foley had been warned before that she could be held civilly and criminally liable for the drug activity at her residence -- the POP unit was on its fourth visit to the home since October of last year.

"Foley failed to take any steps to rectify the problem which had grown worse over time," Watson stated.

Her home was declared a nuisance property by Interim Police Chief Murl Harpham, who may then order corrective actions to be taken. The consequences of failing to comply with these orders may result in fines of $100 to $1,000 per day -- in addition, Foley's neighbors might also file individual civil suits under the city's nuisance abatement law and subject her to further costs to compensate them for damages, costs and attorney's fees.

Foley had at least four other individuals, all known drug users according to EPD, living in her two-bedroom home and paying rent -- including one who lived in the garage in violation of local building codes. Two of these -- Ronald Gene Elwell, 40 and Lola Anne Crothers, 49 -- were arrested on various drug charges. Elwell was also allegedly violating the conditions of his parole.

According to Watson, the investigation is ongoing and further arrests may follow. Local residents with information concerning suspected drug sales activity are encouraged to call the POP unit at (707) 441-4373.

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