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A month later, neighbors say Rio Grande drug raid house is still a problem

KUTV Crack House rio grande 101117.JPG
A month later, neighbors say Rio Grande drug raid house is still a problem (Photo: Jeremy Harris / KUTV)

(KUTV) When a swarm of cops raided a Salt Lake City home in early September, the neighbors on Laxon Court thought it meant the end to years of problems at the suspected drug house.

Two dozen people were taken away in handcuffs after police said they connected the home to a stream of drugs flowing in to the Rio Grande area. Things on Laxon Court seemed to settle down – for a little while.

"The first couple days, the cops were here a lot, they periodically would come and check," neighbor Jeremiah Stratton told 2News.

But people who live on Laxon Court contacted 2News after seeing activity at the suspected drug house again. The Salt Lake County Health Department ordered the house to be closed to entrance – but a 2News crew saw people coming and going from the property over the course of several hours.

A man who identified himself as the property owner said he did not want any video of his home to be taken. He entered the property and left about two hours later.

"[The neighbors] just hate it,” Jim Wilson, who lives near the house, told 2News. “ I mean every day they have to put up with these people running in and out of the house and it scares them."

The Department of Public Safety executed the September warrant and handled the criminal investigation of the drug activity at the home. The Salt Lake County Health Department ruled the house was closed to entrance and posted notices to stay out.

Karla Bartholomew oversees the Health Departments case with the home on Laxon Court. She tells 2News the cleanup of the home and property will be up to the home’s owner.

“It depends how motivated the homeowner is,” Bartholomew told 2News. “The home will need to be tested to prove it’s below the state standard, if it’s over the state standard it will need to be cleaned and retested.”

Health Department records indicate several reports of trespassing. Even the property’s owner was cited by police for trespassing because of the health department’s “closed to entry” order.”

An Oct. 5 report says the city code enforcement has an open case on the house and will begin fining the property owner for solid waste in the next few months.

Salt Lake City Police handles the calls from neighbors when they see people in the house.

“The cops have been very responsive to any calls that we make," Stratton said.

The question on the mind of many of the neighbors on Laxon Court is what will come next for the home.

"The house is just a total mess, it's a hazard, it's a very big hazard and the neighbors hate it," Wilson said. "I'd like to see them bulldoze it, tear it down, get rid of it."