'Like a drive-through restaurant': 7 arrested after Belleville police find meth lab in home

News-DemocratMay 22, 2014 

— People living near a house at 3509 West A St. suspected of being a meth lab reacted with relief after Belleville police raided the house Thursday, resulting in the arrests of seven people and the property being condemned.

For the past year, suspected drug customers visited the house at all hours of the day and night after the arrests.

"It was like a drive-through restaurant," said a woman who lives near the house who asked not to be identified for fear of her safety.

Other neighbors applauded law enforcement's intervention.

"We're excited," one man said. "It's going to make our summer better."

Police from the Code Enforcement and Street Crimes inspected the house at about 10:25 a.m. Residents were arrested for suspicion of multiple violations, said Capt. Don Sax.

Officers went to the residence after several complaints of overcrowding and suspicious activity believed to be drug trafficking, Sax said.

Officers found a meth lab, which is being cleared by a special team from Illinois State Police, as well as drug paraphernalia, suspected methamphetamine and other drug-making materials, Sax said.

The house was deemed uninhabitable by the city building inspector for sewage problems, Sax said.

The suspects were taken into custody and transported to the St. Clair County Jail.

No formal charges have been filed, so no names were released.

By late Thursday afternoon, the one-story house was locked tight with the curtains drawn. A black Weber barbecue grill sat on the wooden front porch. On the window to the right of the door was an orange condemnation sticker. It read: "Condemned as unsafe for human occupancy or use."

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