How was drug operation run out of upscale neighborhood?

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Neighbors are questioning how suspects in a drug bust were able to rent a home in Cypress. (HCSO)

Neighbors of two men accused of running a major drug-making operation out of a rental house in Cypress question why they were able to rent the house in the first place.

Eyewitness News previously reported on the bust that netted assault rifles, pounds and pounds of drugs and cash as well as the arrests of Juston Dew, 21, and Octivous Williams, 25. It happened last week at a home on Kentley Orchard in the Longwood Village Subdivision. Deputies also found edible drugs in the form of Rice Krispie bars and cupcakes.

Since then, homeowners have raised concerns. For months, they say there had been red flags at the two-story red brick home in a community where the average home price is $350,000.

SEE ALSO: HCSO busts treasure trove of drugs, guns, self-help literature

"Probably 10-12 cars on any given night. A lot of times, they were backing vehicles into the garage and maybe staying 15 minutes and then they'd head out," described Kim Weingart.

Weingart says neighbors took their concerns to law enforcement but first to the leasing agent. The homeowner lives overseas. The agent rented the house for $2700 a month in July. October 20th, Harris County Sheriff's Office deputies raided the home, arresting Dew and Williams and seizing the drugs, guns and also a Mercedes. Weingart says she speaks for many neighbors who are angry they were put at risk.

The property manager had all the information and unfortunately because she failed to act, it came down to a police raid in our neighborhood," she said.

Becky Hill, a licensed real estate agent, told Eyewitness News Dew was the applicant and that he passed national and state background checks, had acceptable ratings with three credit bureaus and no previous evictions.

"As a licensed agent, I cannot just turn somebody down. He was as acceptable as any tenant based on the reports we got," Hill said in a phone interview. "Every time there was a concern, I followed it up to the best of my ability."
Another agent who asked to remain anonymous, told Eyewitness News Dew tried to lease one of her properties but "she verified that his employer did not exist, that his pay stubs and background check were fake and that he was using someone else's identity who was 28 years old."

Tim Surrratt is on the board of the Houston Realtors Association and sees it from both sides.

"You have to do your due diligence but even then mistakes can be made and someone can slip through the cracks or they can not be who they say they are," Surratt said.

Weingart is just thankful the alleged illegal activity inside the rental home did not lead to someone getting hurt.

"It's much better now."

Dew and Williams have been charged with drug manufacturing and possession with intent to deliver. Both remain in jail.

Related Topics:
drug bustmarijuanagunsreal estateharris county sheriffs officeCypress
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