Patrick Piche and Nathan Waldner of Rite-Way Fencing erect a fence around a home in Penhold at 52 Heartland Cres. The home is under investigation by the RCMP and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team.

Patrick Piche and Nathan Waldner of Rite-Way Fencing erect a fence around a home in Penhold at 52 Heartland Cres. The home is under investigation by the RCMP and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team.

Drug den shuttered in Penhold

Heartland Crescent residents can sleep easy tonight.

Heartland Crescent residents can sleep easy tonight.

Police shut down a “notorious” drug house at 52 Heartland Cres. in Penhold following a string of complaints on Monday.

The house, on a seemingly quiet cul-de-sac, was an alleged den of criminal activity with drug use, stolen weapons, and prostitution, say neighbours.

Police were called to the house for 24 separate incidents ranging from alleged drug use to assault over the last eight months.

A few doors down from the drug house, resident Ryan Philip said there was non-stop activity all day long especially at night with loud music and partying.

“Christmas came early for us,” he said.

Philip, who has lived on the street for three years, said about 90 per cent of his neighbours were families with young children. He said everyone is breathing a sigh of relief today.

“Nothing happened to us but we were living in fear,” said Philip.

Other neighbours weren’t so lucky.

A recent home invasion in the area stemmed back to the house.

“A guy left this property walked a few doors down in the neighbourhood and kicked in a door at 4 a.m. in the morning to a young family,” said Insp. Mike Letourneau, of ALERT’s SCAN unit. “Bleeding and running around frantically in that home before exiting. So you can imagine the fear in this community in relation to drug activity at this property.”

ALERT’s Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) team were on the lead on the investigation. It became involved in March after fielding complaints from neighbours.

Letourneau said this closure will be an enormous relief to the community.

Innisfail Staff Sgt. Chris Matechuk said this house has been a source of frustration over the last couple of years. He said the closure will help restore the community’s sense of safety.

In August, RCMP executed a search warrant at the home and seized drugs, two firearms, cash, and stolen property. Five people were arrested, including the homeowner.

This was the second alleged drug house in Penhold that the community rallied against in recent years, said Matechuk.

A house at 151 Lincoln Street was once a source of criminal activity until police stepped in and the people were evicted.

The 52 Heartland Cres. owner and tenants are barred from entering or occupying the property under the Community Safety Order. The property is fenced off with the locks changed and the windows and doors boarded up.

The investigation is ongoing.

Last year SCAN fielded nearly 500 complaints about problem properties across the province. If you suspect illegal activity at a property in their neighbourhood, make a confidential complaint online at www.alert-ab.ca/scan or toll-free at 1-866-960-SCAN (7226).

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

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