Upscale Edwardsville house may be seized in meth case

News-DemocratJanuary 2, 2014 

— Residents of one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Edwardsville may lose their house if convicted on meth charges.

Two women living on a trust fund administered by their parents moved into the Ebbets Field subdivision in October. Ebbets Field is known for some of the larger and more expensive homes in Edwardsville, with property values up to $1 million.

Less than two months later, Edwardsville Police and the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southern Illinois raided the house and allegedly found 17 grams of methamphetamine, which police believe the residents were selling or trading for heroin.

Kelly Thomas, 30, and Kaenin Thomas, 34, both of 3312 Karros Court, were charged with possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, a Class 1 felony.

Also charged were Steven Sweningsen, 42; and Gerald Provencher, 28, who face identical charges. Addresses for Sweningsen and Provencher were not available.

Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons has filed petitions to seize cars and the Karros Court house if the residents are convicted.

"If they use cars or houses in furtherance of selling drugs, we will be getting much more aggressive on this in my office," he said. "This is the kind of thing we might not have gone after in the past because it's tricky with the land trust, but we are going to take away the assets used."

Gibbons said the trust had purchased the house for $455,000 on Oct. 22, but the mortgage was for $355,000, so there was likely a $100,000 down payment made.

Gibbons said there was "no evidence" that meth was actually cooked on the premises at 3312 Karros Court. The production of methamphetamine frequently produces extremely toxic chemicals and gases that can pose a danger to human life and to the environment.

"The state police are very cautious in these cases, and they did not need (to contact a hazardous materials team) on the raid," he said. "There is no danger to the neighbors ... But having people deal meth out of a house in your neighborhood is very disturbing."

Edwardsville Police Chief Jay Keeven confirmed there was no meth lab located on the premises during the raid.

In addition to the house, the state's attorney's office is seeking forfeiture of a 2012 Kia Optima owned by Kelly Thomas and 2008 Honda Accord owned by Kaenin Thomas. The forfeitures will have to be approved by a judge before they are official, Gibbons said.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 239-2507.

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