LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WATE) — The Lenoir City Police Department and the Office of Tennessee’s Ninth District Attorney boarded up a “drug house” Thursday afternoon.
DA Russell Johnson submitted a nuisance petition for the home at 161 Finley Dr. that was signed by a judge Thursday morning.
“The reason we’re doing this is because we’ve had two fatal overdoses over the last few months as well as numerous calls for service to the area,” Johnson said.
Other calls for service to the home ranged from reports of domestic assault, to stolen vehicles. Lenoir City Police Chief Don White said officers have responded to the home at least ten times over the last two years.
“Suspicious people being out at one or two o’clock in the morning, disturbing the peace with either music or fighting, it was just all across the board, not what you would normally expect in a nice quiet neighborhood,” White said.
Johnson said the overdose deaths at the home are part of a bigger problem in Loudon County.
”Last year we had 16 through the entire year in 2022, right now we’re up to 31 in Loudon County,” he said. “So we’ve already approached close to twice of what we had last year with a month and a half left to go.”
Johnson also said most of those overdose deaths can be attributed to fentanyl.
The owner of the home, identified as Seth Byrd, is currently incarcerated for underlying drug charges at the Loudon County Jail. However, police said criminal activity and transient living has occurred at the home in his absence. Assistant District Attorney Jason Collver said Byrd will be involved in the judicial process to decide what happens with the home.
“He’ll have the right to appear in court to challenge the evidence put forward in the petition to determine if there’s actual basis to shut this house down, and then to ultimately force to sale if that’s the route we go,” Collver explained.
Johnson said they’ve done around 10 of these operations over the last few years, with several being in Lenoir City. Mayor Tony Aikens said help from the community is vital in making these operations successful.
“Going out and reaching out to the neighbors, as the chief talked about, and getting cooperation from those neighbors, it helps us to build cases like this.”