Jefferson County deputies bust 6 drug houses with 13 arrests - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Jefferson County deputies bust 6 drug houses with 13 arrests

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JEFFERSON COUNTY - AL -

In the past three weeks, Jefferson County deputies have raided six drug houses and made 13 arrests. We wanted to find out what it takes to work that type of investigation so we rode along with deputies.

Over the past three weeks, Jefferson County deputies raided six homes throughout McDonalds Chapel, Edgewater, College Hill, Kingston, and McCalla. They gave us an inside look at how it works.

"It's a dangerous undertaking," Lt. J.M. Davis said. "About 80% of these houses we find not only drugs but also weapons - everything from assault rifles to handguns."

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office  finds out about drug houses through tips and deputies spend every day patrolling the streets.

'The citizens who care about the community will let you know when suspicious activity is going on," Deputy John Pickens, Jefferson County said.

Two of the homes they raided are in McDonald's Chapel and Edgewater.  A place, they say, in recent years has seen an average of one drug arrest per day. Those numbers have since dropped, but the danger level for deputies isn't any lighter.

"They have specialized equipment to help them force their way into houses if the doors are locked," Lt. Davis said. "We also encounter re-enforced burglar barred doors and steel doors and such as that. This is done by the drug dealers on purpose to try to slow us down."

They say, often, it's a minor traffic stop - that launches a bigger investigation.

"If they are known for going to prominent drug houses, 9 times out of 10 they may have drugs or some type of contraband in the car," Deputy Pickens said.

Investigators tell us - even when just one dealer moves into the neighborhood all crimes go up. Everything from burglaries and thefts - to shootings and prostitution.

"The people who are dependent on the drugs have to support their habit in some way," Deputy Pickens said. "A lot of them are unemployed so they find other means to support their habit - things like prostitution, burglary, things of that nature."

Sheriff Hale's community drug house initiative - enforced by ten deputies is aimed at finding those houses and stopping the cycle.

Deputies say the growing problem is meth- in fact it makes up 40% of their drug cases. And heroin is making a big come-back at about 30% of their cases. Investigations can last between one day and one month before they can raid a drug house.