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Oak Harbor meth house busted, neighbors relieved

Oak Harbor Police Lt. Tim Sterkel looks through the contents of a handbag found in the home of a suspected drug dealer. Police raided the condo and recovered an estimated $3,000 worth of methamphetamine, along with assorted drug paraphernalia.  - Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor Police Lt. Tim Sterkel looks through the contents of a handbag found in the home of a suspected drug dealer. Police raided the condo and recovered an estimated $3,000 worth of methamphetamine, along with assorted drug paraphernalia.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times

The quiet of a small Oak Harbor neighborhood was shattered early Friday when city police raided the home of a suspected drug dealer.

According to Oak Harbor Police Lt. Tim Sterkel, officers arrived at a 19th Street condominium at 6:30 a.m. to serve a search warrant. Following several unanswered knocks, a high-risk entry team broke down the doors and stormed the home.

Brent Severns, 32, and Damien Hernandez, also 32, were both found inside. They were taken into custody without incident; They made their preliminary appearances in Island County Superior Court and are being held on $10,000 bail.

Severns lives at the home with his mother and is well known to local law enforcement.

“He’s been on our radar for a couple years but we never had enough (evidence) to get into the house,” Sterkel said.

About one ounce of “cut” methamphetamine, commonly known as crystal meth, was found in the home along with about five grams of pure meth. “Cut” drugs are those that have been diluted with a similar substance to increase supply and reap greater profit.

A small portion of marijuana and drug paraphernalia such as  pipes, weight scales, and small baggies, were also recovered. Detective Carl Seim, Oak Harbor’s drug enforcement officer, estimated the total street value at about $3,000.

“I was expecting close to what we found,” Seim said.

Severns has been arrested for meth possession three times since 2008 with the most recent this past August. Police have been watching the house closely for the past six months due to complaints from neighbors.

Recently, a “confidential informant” visited the condo and allegedly purchased meth from Severns. According to Seim, it was enough to secure a search warrant from Island County Superior Court.

Although several neighbors said they were startled awake by the sound of the doors being broken down, they were relieved by the arrests. Barbara Travis, who lives in the condo next door, said people would visit at all hours, making quick stops at the front door or looking in mailboxes.

“You know darn well what’s going on but you can’t do anything about it,” Travis said. “It’s a little scary.”

Jack Daniel, another neighbor, said the issue has been going on for four years. It’s been so troublesome that he and the condo association haved hired lawyers to try and get Severns barred from the neighborhood but with no luck. He blames the man’s father, City Councilman Bob Severns,  and soft judges for not doing enough to solve the problem.

“He just keeps coming back,” Daniel said.

According to Seim, meth is one of the most commonly abused drugs in Oak Harbor. In an average year, he estimated that police make about three busts of this scale. Anyone with tips or information concerning illegal drugs is encouraged to contact Seim at 279-4600.

 

 

 

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