By Rikki King Herald Writer
MONROE — For more than a year, police here have been building a complex case to shut down a drug house in the Woods Creek area.
They’ve made at least 27 arrests in connection with drug activity at the house along Corbridge Road, Sgt. Ryan Irving said. Those arrested also have been linked to thefts, burglaries and drug crimes in Monroe.
One addict told police that “all the druggies in town know of the house,” Monroe officer Scott Kornish wrote in an affidavit.
In August, the case led to felony charges against the homeowner, who is accused of “unlawful use of a building for drug purposes.”
Police allege that the woman, 56, was accepting heroin and meth from drug dealers in lieu of rent.
In May 2013, Kornish started using an unmarked car to conduct surveillance on the house after a spike in complaints from the neighbors.
Kornish saw a lot of people making numerous short visits to the house.
The woman and her then-husband bought the two-story house in 2007, county property records show.
They later divorced, and she became the sole owner in 2012. The next year, she told police she had been a heroin addict for several years but had switched to using prescription drugs.
Over time, police arrested multiple drug dealers who were operating from the house, court papers show. Some of the drug transactions also were happening at a nearby park.
Police warned the woman to stop allowing drug sales on her property. They served multiple search warrants on the house.
“One drug dealer after another would be in that residence,” Kornish said. “When one would get out, within two or three days, another would be there, selling narcotics again.”
In August 2013, Irving found an uncapped syringe on a sidewalk near the house.
In October, police were called to the house for a drug overdose. A 32-year-old man was revived and taken to the hospital, department spokeswoman Debbie Willis said.
The investigators got a judge’s permission to search the house, turning up heroin and items used to package it for sale, along with handwritten notes documenting the drugs-for-rent scheme, Kornish wrote in reports.
Police also allege that people associated with the house are part of an organized shoplifting ring that is under investigation.
The arrests so far have included a burglary suspect found with stolen sports memorabilia in her backpack, and a woman with $950 of stolen paint in her vehicle’s backseat.
The police needed an extensive case to support the felony charge against the homeowner, Irving said. She had no previous criminal history.
Drug houses hurt the entire community, Irving said.
“There are kids around and responsible homeowners, and it affects everything in that neighborhood,” he said.
The last drug dealer known to have been operating out of the house has been in jail since June.