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4 Signs Your Neighbor is a Drug Dealer

There are things you can watch and listen for

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.

1. Smell

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."

3. Fans

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.

Ken McEntee April 02, 2012 at 12:27 PM
"There were relatively few secret police, and most were just processing the information coming in. I had found a shocking fact. It wasn't the secret police who were doing this wide-scale surveillance and hiding on every street corner. It was the ordinary German people who were informing on their neighbors." - The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy 1933-45 (Oxford University Press, 1990).
neil gordon May 02, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Nice source of information, you have there, Ken. What other nefarious and disturbing sources of information do you like reading and quoting from? Perhaps a quote from John Adams would be appropriate here..."we are a nation of Laws, not of men".

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