Neighbors help police shut down suspected drug house

Calls to police paid off for a community on the North Side after the San Antonio Police Department’s Dangerous Assessment Response Team served a warrant at a suspected drug house Wednesday.

The suspect drug house is on Tioga Drive near Wurzbach Road.

Marci Mendoza said she’s been living across from the home for nearly a decade, unable to let her small children play outside because of the suspicious people who lingered in and out of the home.

“Drugs, lots of transients, homeless individuals coming in and out of that house. For a period of time, there’s been dogs out that we've been almost attacked by just opening the garage. Being charged by these dogs,” she said. “It's just really has been an issue and an eyesore when there's been homeless people and individuals with drug addictions in the front yard. Time to time, (you’ll hear) mentally ill individuals screaming profanities when you're trying to get your children out of the car and come in.”

Tired of being prisoners to their homes, the residents started taking action, calling police, reporting the goings-on at the home. Police records show more than 100 calls were dispatched to the home in one year, including 31 disturbance calls, more than a dozen suspicious vehicle calls and 10 theft reports, among calls for other things.

SAPD SAFFE Officer Steve Beilstein said the inside of the home was in disarray.

“There is a lot of broken — just junk, trash laying around. We saw some rodents. We saw rodent feces. We saw a lot of bugs,” he said. “It's just a place that they came to hang, to shoot up their heroin and their meth addiction.”

Police said there’s a link to the people who were seen in the home and those at a home on Rustic Bend a few miles away. Last week, police detained a dozen people and arrested two at the home on Rustic Bend, where they found drugs, weapons and explosives.

Neighbors on Tioga were worried about the elderly woman who lived in the home. Police said she was allowing a relative to stay there and he’s the one who was letting in the illegal activity.

The woman would often seek help from neighbors, said a resident named Ray, who declined to share his last name.

“She was always dirty and always wearing the same robe, the same clothes, all day, every day and sometimes asking for help. (She would say) that somebody over there was hurting her. So that's why we always called the police,” he said. 

Police said the woman was placed in a safe location. Her home is boarded up, and anyone found inside will be charged with attempted burglary. Neighbors said they’ll continue to keep an eye on the home and call police if the vagrants return. They urge anyone in the community who has a similar problem not to give up on calling police.   

“It takes a team an effort of getting together and banding together as neighbors and making sure that we try to hit all the right channels, whether it's from Adult Protective Services, whether it's, you know, they had dogs there too. We'd have to call the city for that,” Ray said. “It was a total team effort for it to finally happen, but it happened.”

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