Skagit County Sheriff

"Committed To Your Safety"

Methamphetamine/Drug Information and Resources

Signs of Drug Related Activity In Your Neighborhood

One or two of the following indicators does not mean you have a drug house or methamphetamine lab in your neighborhood, but a few of these signs together may indicate suspicious behavior.

Traffic

- Vehicles look suspicious, such as those with no license plates
- Visitors come and go throughout the day and night and stay for short periods of time
- Cars left running with a passenger in the car while the driver runs inside
- Influxes of increased traffic (random times of day, week, or month when large number of cars come and go)
- Look for a light left on, a partially opened blind, or some other kind of signal to indicate that drugs are available at the house

Foot Traffic

- People parking away from the premises and walking in
- Unkempt, disoriented or paranoid visitors or other neighbors
- People carrying in tools, electronics, or other items that might be used to sell or trade for drugs


Conditions of Property

- Accumulation of trash or junk, specific to making meth (pictured below)

- Deterioration of the property
- Windows always covered
- Garage door never opens
- An inordinate number of vehicles left on the property
- Dismantling of vehicles, machinery, or other component items. Often the high gives users nervous energy to start projects but they don't have the ability to concentrate enough to put things back together

Occupants

- Leave house infrequently or do not work
- Display paranoid or odd behavior
- Have erratic sleep patterns
- Neglect pets or children
- Have large parties
- Diminished hygiene
- Awake or asleep for days at a time
- Out of ordinary contact with youth. Lots of young visitors, especially when the occupants do not have children of that age group

Surroundings

-
Increased crime in the neighborhood, especially crimes of opportunity like vehicle thefts and burglaries
- Other neighbors exhibiting unusual behavior, frequenting the drug house, or defending the occupants

What Can I Do To Help?

The Skagit County Sheriff's Office relies on our citizens to keep us apprised of unusual activity in your neighborhood. It is important that you never put yourself in harms way. Additionally, if you discover or suspect a drug lab in your neighborhood do not touch anything. Leave the area immediately and call 9-1-1.

With the above information in mind the best thing you and your neighbors can do is be a good witness. It is important to document what you observe and report those findings to the Sheriff's Office.

What to Document and How to Report Your Documentation

If there is notabale activity at a suspected drug house, you should document what you see. Note the date, time and type of suspicious activity you observe. Provide vehicle descriptions and license plate numbers (if safely possible). Also, note the number of people and describe each person involved. Remember to document exactly what you observe, not what you think is happening.

Once you have accumulated information to report, contact the Sheriff's Office non-emergency line at (360)428-3211 to report your findings or dial 9-1-1 if you believe someone is in danger or if there is an in-progress crime being committed.

Why is it taking so long to get rid of the drug house in my neighborhood?

The Law and How It Applies

The Skagit County Sheriff's Office recognizes the epidemic methamphetamine manufacturing, distributing, and consuming is causing within our county and throughout the nation. It is important to recognize that the same constitutional laws that protect law abiding citizens also protect criminals. All citizens have the right to freedom from unlawful searches and seizures of their person, vehicles, and their home. The same rules apply to you as they do the occupants of the "drug house" in your neighborhood. The Sheriff's Office will be as aggressive as the law will allow in ridding neighborhoods of crime, but it must be done appropriately. It is important to understand that the Sheriff's Office cases against these drug houses be legally sound. With that in mind what are we doing to help protect you?

Collect The Evidence There is A Drug House

Tangible, credible evidence needs to be collected in order to obtain a search warrant. Even after a search warrant is served, there are many processes that have to take place prior to trial; testing the drugs at a lab, preparing the case for trial. All of these things take time, sometimes months or years. And while all this is going on, the same suspects may be back at their house selling drugs again. The Sheriff's Office does watch drug houses and stops people for legitimate traffic violations as they leave. During these traffic stops our deputies are looking for evidence or other information pertaining to the distribution or consumption of drugs. Sometimes these stops lead to arrests, which would allow for a search of the person and their vehicle. Occasionally, the suspects decide to cooperate with the Sheriff's Office and provide enough information to obtain a search warrant for the drug houses.

Diligence

Diligence is one of the most successful traits needed to combat a drug house. These problems will not be resolved overnight. It takes a collaborative effort of citizens along with public and private agencies to rid a neighborhood of problem houses. There may be times when fear and frustration may make you want to just give up or move, but citizens must be committed to the long term in order to take their neighborhood back. The Skagit County Sheriff's Office is proud to be your partner in that process.