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Owner of alleged Oak Harbor drug house wanted on $10,000 warrant

By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News-Times Co-editor
April 20, 2013 · Updated 9:21 AM
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An Oak Harbor official close down a house that has a sewage leak after police conduct a drug raid. / file

An Oak Harbor woman accused of allowing a group of transients to use drugs in her home is being sought on a $10,000 warrant, according to Island County Superior Court documents.

Prosecutors charged Brenda M. Elder, 45, with unlawful use of a building for drug purposes.

Elder is reportedly homeless since the Oak Harbor police raided her residence on Northeast Fourth Avenue last June. There, police allegedly discovered 14 people living in squalor.

The city’s code enforcement officer posted the residence as “unsafe to occupy” after reportedly finding raw sewage in a crawlspace.

A 13-year-old girl was also allegedly raped at the home when she stayed overnight last year, according to court documents.

Police Detective Carl Seim, the department’s drug enforcement officer, obtained a search warrant for the house after allegedly conducting a “controlled buy” of methamphetamine from a man at the residence.

The police department’s “high risk entry team” raided the home June 9. They breached the door with a ram and tossed a “diversionary device.”

Eleven people were discovered inside the house by police, as well as a man living in a shed and two people inside a camper trailer in the backyard.

The police, however, said they found only a small amount of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and baggies with suspected methamphetamine residue, according to Seim’s report.

The police report describes the conditions of the home as poor. The only bathroom was missing a sink, dirty clothes and dishes were strewn all over and the floor was sagging.

Seim wrote that a plumber who arrived to fix the sewage leak said he wasn’t able to do any work until the moisture and feces were cleaned up from the crawlspace.

Neighbors of the residence told police they were concerned about the house, which was suspected to be a place where people were using drugs.

Cars were constantly coming and going from the residence, neighbors said.

Several of the neighbors contacted by the Whidbey News-Times last summer and said they had sympathy for Elder, who appeared to have mental health issues.

Elder gave refuge to homeless young people, but some people took advantage of her, a neighbor woman said.

 

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