Occupants of suspected drug house told to be out today
April 7, 2014
Residents of 322 Buena Vista have been told they must be out of their home today or be forcibly removed.
In recent weeks, the Grass Valley home has been targeted for abatement under the city's Responsible Property Owners ordinance, more commonly known as the good neighbor policy. It was the scene of 12 arrests during a series of high-profile probation searches conducted over the span of a single week.
Despite the looming deadline to vacate his property, the owner says he is having difficulty moving out in time.
"With all these raids, I haven't been able to pack most of it because the cops come in and tear everything up," said James Wilcox. "They're making it impossible for me to do it."
In addition to any inconvenience, Wilcox says he's being fined $1,000 every time law enforcement searches his home under the city's good neighbor policy.
He has denied most of what's been reported about illegal activity taking place in his home.
"I don't allow drugs in my house," Wilcox told The Union. "If I find anyone using them, they're gone."
Several of the individuals arrested at 322 Buena Vista were allegedly in possession of hypodermic needles loaded with liquid methamphetamine for intravenous use. Wilcox maintains that many of the people arrested had outstanding warrants and were not in the act of committing crimes at his home.
"They're targeting this house because of people that I rented to and their friends," Wilcox said. "All I did was what I had to do to survive. Most of the people that come here, I don't like them. I don't know them, you know?"
Wilcox said he inherited the home but found himself unable to meet the financial obligations involved. He was going to apply for a loan with his brother but said his brother died in July 2013.
Wilcox was unable to qualify alone, so he said he rented out rooms to avoid foreclosure, and he says the new roommates have caused a lot of problems.
But he was unable to get rid of them, he says, due to the legal costs involved.
"It costs me $700 per person to do evictions and have them served," Wilcox said.
After everything that's happened, Wilcox wants to leave town. He said he's moving to Jacksonville, Ark.,
if he can raise enough money to rent a 25-foot box truck and a trailer to haul his SUV.
According to U-Haul's website, that would cost more than $2,000 — not including fuel and other travel expenses.
Wilcox said he hopes to crowd-source the funding for that rental from the neighbors that want him gone.
"If I had the money, I would write him a check," said DeAnna Williams, who lives across the street.
"That's how bad I want him off the street."
Wilcox held an estate sale but says it was unsuccessful due to recent news coverage of police activity at his address. Only four people came by, despite the fact that Wilcox advertised the sale, and he said two of those told him they were only there to see what a crack house looked like.
Wilcox is critical of the way the eviction has been handled by the Grass Valley Police Department. He says the police have made a bad situation worse, hampering his efforts to vacate the home his family has lived in for nearly a century.
After weeks of intense enforcement activities — including extra patrols and numerous probation searches — Wilcox said law enforcement has terrorized the house.
"If you read what is an act of terror, it's anything that makes you live in fear," Wilcox said.
"And that's what they're doing."
Frustrated neighbors say that problems with
the residents of 322 Buena Vista have continued,
despite extensive efforts by law enforcement and
the city's proactive approach to clearing out the residence.
To contact staff writer Dave Brooksher, send emails firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.