Tuesday, March 29, 2011, marked the end of an era for a south Sweetwater neighborhood. Neighbors watched as a notorious crack cocaine distribution house was completely demolished at 1110 Runnels Street in Sweetwater. Sheriff David Warren called this the location of one of the most prolific crack cocaine selling operations he has seen.
The house being demolished brings to close another chapter in the never-ending battle against illegal drug activity waged by the Nolan County Sheriffâ€™s Office and the 32nd District Attorneyâ€™s Office. Sheriff David Warren and District Attorney Ann Reed were both on hand Tuesday morning to witness the demolition. In the latest raid conducted at this address, nine people were arrested for various charges related to the possession and distribution of crack cocaine. â€śBasically the house has been vacant since we arrested everyone out of it back on October 6, 2010,â€ť said Nolan County Sheriff David Warren. â€śDistrict Attorney Ann Reed and I worked together on this together and she handled the forfeiture proceedings through her office. The house and property at 1110 Runnels were awarded to the Nolan County Sheriffâ€™s Office back in December and we waited an appropriate time for any appeals to the forfeiture. DA Reed and I have felt all along that this would be the best disposition for this house. I know the area neighbors are very happy to see this gone and to know this piece of property wonâ€™t be used for this purpose again,â€ť Warren said.
The drug investigation leading up to this lasted for several months and included the Nolan County Sheriffâ€™s Office, Investigators from the 32nd Judicial District Attorneyâ€™s Office and members of the Abilene Police Departmentâ€™s â€“ Special Operations Unit. According to Sheriff Warren, â€śWe are very appreciative of the cooperation we received during this investigation. This is another great example of agencies working together and getting results.â€ť
â€śI definitely want to thank Sweetwater City Manager Eddie Brown and his staff for their assistance with the demolition effort. Also the Nolan County Commissioners and their crews for the work to get the lot cleared, especially Commissioner Tony Lara and Commissioner Terry Locklar. Once the lot is cleared of all debris and cleaned well, Iâ€™ll put it up for sale or auction. I know there are already some neighbors interested in purchasing the lot so that something like this doesnâ€™t end up here again,â€ť Sheriff Warren said. "I hope people in Sweetwater and all of Nolan County will continue to support our efforts and continue to have patience as we build these cases. These kinds of results canâ€™t happen unless we do it right."
The Nolan County Sheriff was asked by media at the demolition if he and the District Attorney would ever do something like this again and his answer was â€śabsolutely.â€ť â€śI want everyone to know how fair Ann Reed is in this kind of situation. She always gives the owner, house or vehicle, suitable and fair warning. However, if the property continues to be used for illegal drug dealing, then it will be subject to seizure and ultimate forfeiture or loss of the property,â€ť Warren said.
A few of the defendants in this case have accepted pleas and several remain in the Nolan County Jail awaiting trial or disposition.