LACONIA — A raid on a suspected South End drug house early Monday morning led to the arrest of six people, police report.
About 20 Laconia police officers carried out a search warrant at 6 a.m. at a residence at 55 Cottage St. About 15 people were inside when the raid occurred, police said. Of that number, six were arrested, while the others were released after being briefly detained.
Two were arrested on drug charges. Stephen E. Anderson, 27, no fixed address, and Abigayle L. Chase, 25, of 55 Cottage St., in Laconia, were arrested on a charge of possession of fentanyl. Anderson was also charged with criminal trespass.
Four others, all transients, were arrested on outstanding warrants: Mandee L. Greene, 28; Kristen D. Paul, 28; Paul E. Mullaney, 34; and Heather D. Paul, 29, who was also arrested for resisting arrest.
The raid was carried out by Laconia police detectives and uniformed officers, assisted by members of the regional SWAT team. As the raid was getting underway, residents in the immediate area were told to stay inside their homes.
Police Chief Matt Canfield said the house has been under surveillance for many months. Activity around the house was being recorded by a dome camera mounted on a utility pole across the street. In addition, police cruisers were frequently parked close by for prolonged periods, neighbors said.
A significant development in the case occurred last week when police arrested David Bickford, 26, a transient, for criminally threatening another man with a gun at the garage for the house. Bickford was arrested last Tuesday during a traffic stop. During a search of the vehicle police confiscated a semi-automatic handgun, about 50 grams of suspected heroin/fentanyl, $177 in cash, two digital drug scales, two baggies of suspected methamphetamine, and one baggie of heroin/fentanyl, police said.
In Monday’s raid, detectives seized drug paraphernalia and “materials consistent with drug distribution,” a media release from the Police Department said.
During the course of the search detectives found a number of bicycles, bicycle parts, tools and other items which police believe may have been stolen.
Canfield said additional charges could be brought.
Neighbors said there has been suspicious activity around the house for a year or more.
“There were people walking back and forth all hours of the night,” said Gail Wade, who lives a block away on Baldwin Street. “There were people walking by hollering and screaming and talking to themselves.”
Another neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said he was relieved that police had finally been able to take action.
“There would be 20 people or more going in and out of there a day,” he said.
Canfield said the inside of the house was in “deplorable” condition. Both water and electrical service had been turned off, he said.
The building, which is in the hands of the estate of the last owner, was declared uninhabitable after police had cleared the scene Monday, Planning Director Dean Trefethen said.
He said his office has contacted a close family member of the deceased owner to say the house needs to be secured by boarding up doors and first-floor windows to ensure no one can get inside. In addition, trash and debris in the yard needs to be taken away, he said.
Canfield said the back yard of the house was littered with hypodermic needles and human waste.
Trefethen agreed with Canfield’s characterization of the inside of the house.
“Nobody should be inside that building,” he said. “It’s filled with trash and refuse, and all kinds of nasty stuff.”
Canfield said it was his understanding that Chase, who was the house's sole authorized occupant, was related to the late owner.
A K-9 unit and drone were also involved in Monday’s operation, police said.