UPDATED: Gang haven: Enough is enough

Police arrested several suspects Friday at 7216 Eigleberry St.

City officials have grown tired of a residence that’s harbored
years of criminal activity and want it declared a public
nuisance.
Mayor Al Pinheiro and City Councilman Bob Dillon said Monday
they want to shut down a home that police have called a

haven

for narcotics and gang activity.
City officials have grown tired of a residence that’s harbored years of criminal activity and want it declared a public nuisance.

Mayor Al Pinheiro and City Councilman Bob Dillon said Monday they want to shut down a home that police have called a “haven” for narcotics and gang activity.

Dillon said he would “not tolerate” the activities that have occurred at 7216 Eigleberry St., where the Gilroy Police Department arrested several people Friday night for narcotics possession and probation violation.

It wasn’t the GDP’s first trip to the home.

Police also arrested several suspected Norteño gang members during a narcotics search at the home in October 2010.

“Obviously, we have to do something,” Dillon said about the house. “Sooner or later, someone is going to get hurt.”

On Friday, the Gilroy Police Department made several arrests at the residence just after 10 p.m., according to a press release.

The names of those arrested were not made available Monday to the Dispatch because police administrative staff were not working during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

The GPD’s Anti-Crime Team served a search warrant Friday after agents purchased narcotics at the residence, according to police. Several people were arrested in that event, include an illegal immigrant and probation violators.

One of the suspects is presently out of custody on bail in another matter, and now faces additional charges for that violation in conjunction with the new case, the GPD said.

Dillon said the home represented something that was “completely derogatory” to Gilroy.

In an e-mail sent to Dillon and Pinheiro, City Administrator Thomas Haglund wrote he would confirm Tuesday that “the (police) department is pursuing the closure of this home under all means available.”

Dillon said the home should be declared a public nuisance.

The home has been a “haven for known gang members” and has been the subject of numerous narcotics-related searches over the past few years, according to the GDP.

One subject, who was arrested at the house in an earlier incident, was a fugitive and was apprehended by the U.S. Marshal’s Service, according to the GPD.

Friday’s arrests came three months after a police search revealed methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana throughout the residence. A newborn baby and a 10-month-old child were taken into protective custody, and police said the home’s conditions were “deplorable and uninhabitable.”

Several unchained dogs that appeared to live at or around the property chased bicyclists down the street and barked at pedestrians who came near the residence Monday morning.

Another dog, a pit bull, was chained to a gate in the front yard. While the loose dogs were walking in the street, a GPD squad car approached, slowed as the dogs moved to the side, then drove away.

Derogatory words alerting visitors to go around the house were carved into the front door of the residence.

Neighbor Veronica Gomez said several new people moved into the residence about a month ago. Gomez said “there was always a lot of people there,” but she never spoke to them.

“They kept to themselves, we kept to ourselves,” she said. “Nobody talked to anybody.”

The property owner is an absentee owner, according to the GPD.

According to the Santa Clara County Assessor’s Office, the home has a billing address located in San Luis Obispo.

“This same residence has been the subject of several other search warrants, probation searches, etc., over the last few years,” GPD Sgt. Joseph Deras wrote in a press release in October.

This mirrored the press release for Friday’s incident that said the property owner “has not taken steps in cooperation with the police to mitigate this situation.”

The GPD said when investigators contacted those in the residence in an attempt to arrest a wanted felon, they were met with resistance. When officers entered the home, they encountered physical and verbal resistance, according to the GPD.

GPD investigators determined the home’s condition presents a public health hazard.

Pinheiro told the Dispatch on Monday that city officials and the GPD would work out its options this week.

“We’re going to do everything in our means to close this place,” Pinheiro said. “We certainly have a responsibility to do whatever we can to bring that to a halt.”

He added, “I’ve never been involved in any such things in my years as mayor and a council member.”

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