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South Dakotans Ask: Could There be a Drug House in My Neighborhood?

Sioux Falls Police Stand-off

With another drug bust earlier this week east of Sioux Falls, you may be wondering how to spot drug production or a drug house in your own neighborhood.  Unfortunately homes across a broad spectrum of neighborhoods could be used for this dangerous activity.  The recent drug bust was less than 3 miles away from my childhood home where family still reside.  So how could you spot drug activity in your neighborhood?

Here are several indicators of meth lab waste:

  • Cold/allergy medicine packaging
  • Empty containers from: Heet, antifreeze, ether, starting fluids, freon, lye, drain cleaners, paint thinner or acetone
  • Coffee filters with white pasty, powdery or red substance
  • Coolers or thermos bottles
  • Propane tanks

Typical signs of a drug house:

  • Little or no traffic during the day, but lots of traffic at late hours
  • Extra efforts to cover windows or reinforce doors
  • Never putting out trash
  • Unfriendly, paranoid or secretive behavior
  • Renters who pay landlords in cash
  • Unemployed persons who seem to have plenty of cash

In a recent survey, 6.28% of South Dakota residents reported using illicit drugs in the past month, which falls short of the national average at 8.02%.

South Dakotan continues to fight illegal drug use on many levels.  The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program connects local, state, and Federal law enforcement agencies regarding illegal drug use, production and sales.
HIDTA Counties in South Dakota include Beadle, Brookings, Brown, Clay, Codington, Custer, Lawrence, Lincoln, Meade, Minnehaha, Pennington, Union, and Yankton counties.

Other law enforcement agencies include:

  • Sioux Falls Task Force— targets manufacturing, importation, and distribution organizations operating in Sioux Falls and other parts of South Dakota.
  • DHE-South Dakota Interdiction — provides operational support for Highway interdiction activities on pre-identified trafficking routes.
  • Special Assistant United States Attorney — enhances the resources of South Dakota United States Attorney’s Office to aggressively prosecute narcotics trafficking cases at the Federal level, and to cross-designate state prosecutors when appropriate.

If you do suspect a drug home in your neighborhood, most professionals suggest connecting with other neighbors but never including residents of the home in question.  The earlier law enforcement can be included, the better.


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