Alberta sheriffs close down notorious Lethbridge drug house once again

Authorities in Lethbridge have once again shut down a house in the city's northside for 90 days following an investigation by the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit of the Alberta Sheriffs.

SCAN previously shut down the house, located at 124 19 Street North, one year ago.

The property owner then regained access to the site in August 2021.

The most recent investigation into the home began in March after a complaint about drug and criminal activity allegedly taking place at the property.

Officers confirmed illegal activity was indeed taking place, saying "multiple drug transactions" were observed as well as "drug paraphernalia strewn around the property."

Police were able to close down the house thanks to a community safety order granted by the Court of Queen's Bench, which took effect on Wednesday.

Locks have been changed, the home is boarded up and a fence has been built around it to prevent any unauthorised access.

"The property in this case is also the subject of a court-ordered sale unrelated to the investigation," said a news release. "The SCAN unit will continue to monitor the premises until the community safety order expires on April 26, 2023, or until the property is sold."

Between October 2019 and February 2021, the Lethbridge Police Service (CPS) says police responded to 33 incidents at the property.

"We’ve dealt with several calls stemming from suspicious people, drug activity, recovery of stolen vehicles and theft from vehicles and things like that," said Sgt. Liam Breedon.

Police say there are no pending charges against the home owner.

"Some of the names that have been associated with this residence will pop up else where, and then we’ll move onto the next one. SCAN has a list of other homes they’re dealing with, and LPS has a list of other residence that we’re trying to deal with.”

One nearby resident said the home has created ongoing problems for four years. The mother of two says she is feeling a weight off of her shoulders now that her children can enjoy their yard safely.

"I’m thrilled," said Jennifer Palmer.

"It’s been a bit of a process getting this closure done again, it’s the second time now and we're really happy that its finally coming to an end and it will be done for good."

Palmer hopes the next person who takes over the property is far more peaceful.

Since its inception in 2008, the SCAN unit has investigated almost 7,000 problem properties and issued nearly 100 community safety orders.

"Community safety orders can help break the cycle of crime and allow law-abiding Albertans to take back their neighbourhoods and rest easier," said Tyler Shandro, minister of justice and solicitor general.