Ever suspect someone on your street is running a drug operation?
It happens, even in nice neighborhoods, and residents are often a key to bringing it down.
When Westlake police in a Westown Boulevard apartment earlier this month, it was thanks to an observant neighbor.
Strongsville police haven't uncovered any grow operations in the recent past, but in 2008 discovered a pharmacist was making methamphetamine in his White Bark Drive basement.
Detective Lt. John Janowski said there are several ways to tell if someone is growing marijuana, making meth or dealing drugs in your neighborhood.
If someone is growing marijuana in their home, neighbors can often smell it, Janowski said.
In the recent arrest in Westlake, the resident suspected the neighbor because of marijuana smells wafting out of the apartment.
And if someone is making meth, "that's a big smell," Janowski said.
"It's a chemical smell, and it's pretty strong," he said.
2. Frequent Visitors
A drug dealer will have lots of people making many short visits to his home or apartment to buy and sell.
That's not a sure sign, though.
"A lot of kids have visitors coming over all day long," Janowski said. "It doesn't mean drug deals are going on."
Ventilation is important in a grow operation. Neighbors should be suspicious if they hear fans running all the time.
"Usually, someone growing marijuana will put up a lot of fans, which also helps spread the smell through the neighborhood," Janowski said.
4. Frayed Wires
A grower will also tamper with electrical wires to bypass a soaring electric bill generated by fans and heat lamps.
"It takes a lot of money to run the heat lamps, and they sometimes try to avoid the electricity costs," Janowski said.
Can't Always Tell
In the 2008 case, neighbors did not suspect a meth lab on White Bark Drive. It was discovered when police were called to the house for a domestic dispute and the wife showed officers what her husband was doing in the basement.
The man, Emil Dontenville, was sentenced in June 2008 to three years in prison.
To report your suspicions, call Strongsville police at 440-238-7373 or to the Tip Line by typing keyword TIPSPD to 847411, followed by your tip information.