RAYMOND — With assistance from surrounding agencies, the Raymond Police Department conducted two drug busts in July and August at residences less than a block apart. The busts come as the county renews drug task force efforts to trounce the county’s evolving narcotics problems.

The first bust was conducted via a search warrant at a residence on the 1600 Block of Riddell Street in the Riverdale area of Raymond on July 25 after RPD was tipped off about a potential narcotics issue after traffic stops and surveillance.

Officers from the Raymond Police Department, South Bend Police Department and Pacific County Sheriff’s Office converged on the residence. They were able to locate bundles of meth and drug paraphernalia, including a scale and meth pipes.

The majority of the incident report was redacted and Raymond police withheld additional details to protect the identity of a juvenile. However, images from the scene showed deplorable living conditions, including moldy food spread throughout the residence, and a child’s toilet filled with feces.

Busted!

The next bust unfolded less than a block away on Aug. 12 when agencies conducted a search warrant in the Riverdale Heights Apartments. The bust resulted from numerous traffic stops and surveillance of the apartment where multiple players in the drug scene were seen coming and going.

“This was the result of leg work,” Raymond Police Chief Chuck Spoor said. “This was based on surveillance, who was coming and going, and their history.”

Most of the players and occupants inside the apartment are well known to all three agencies, including several who have lengthy criminal records and drug possession charges. The apartment has also been a hot spot for several suspects evading warrants.

Inside the apartment, officers found a bag of meth and drug paraphernalia along with the names of several suspects, including a minor who was reportedly a drug dealer supplying the occupants with their fixes. Photos from the scene showed numerous pipes, cutting tools and bags of crystal meth.

“We didn’t seize a lot of drugs between either bust,” Spoor stated. “Honestly, this one in the apartments is kind of a flophouse. I just think people are flopping there and using it [as a place to use their drugs].”

Riverdale has been troubled with an increasing drug problem. Many residents living in the area report they see some sort of drug activity weekly. They praise the continued efforts of RPD and other agencies combating the issues.

“We are still working heavily in the Riverdale area,” Spoor continued. “That’s not to paint the neighborhood in a bad light. It’s just who happens to be living there at [any given] time. We are just such a small area that if you get one or two people, then all these other people are attracted to the area.”

Bigger picture

Spoor and other agencies have begun a renewed push to combat drugs in the county via a drug task force. They currently only have funding for one year, so they are trying to use it sparingly.

“The guys have been doing a really good job [working these sorts of cases],” Spoor said. “Hopefully, we are able to build some bigger stuff out of those two busts.” He went on to credit all the involved agencies in both acquiring intel and carrying out the warrants calling it a “team effort.”

Spoor hopes that the county can eventually have two full-time drug task force officers and then officers from each agency available for the units’ mobilization when the need arises. Ideally, he wants to pledge a Raymond officer 10 to 20 hours a week to drug task force duties.

“If an officer were to use overtime, I couldn’t see a better reason,” Spoor added. “But we will have to wait and see.”

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