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Drug house crackdown: Home on north side near grade school to be closed

Posted at 5:48 PM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 19:00:38-04

MILWAUKEE — A north side home suspected of illicit activity near a grade school will be boarded up.

The home near 37th and Cherry was raided in June. Police found cocaine, heroin and evidence of drug dealing and prostitution in the home. However, the activity hasn't stopped. In the four months since then, it's continued and spilled into the surrounding area.

The home is across the street from the playground at Bethune Academy, where children are outside playing daily. Judge Carl Ashley ruled in favor of the city to put a temporary restraining order on the home.

"They're going to get relief very soon from the problems and criminal activity happening in close proximity to the grade school," Heather Hecimovic Hough, Assistant City Attorney said. "This is really a great win for that neighborhood and the Academy."

Hough says there are about 150 nuisance designations in any given year. They're not always for drugs but any type of criminal activity. However, she says this is an extreme case because the landlord never stepped in.

"We have a lot of drug houses in the city but generally, when property owners are made aware of the fact that drugs are being sold at their property, they take action," Hough said. "They either remove those tenants selling drugs from their property, they screen their tenants better and set zero tolerance for that type of activity as landlords."

The landlord, Brenden Julien, had been notified of the activity at the home repeatedly. Police say they also observed him at the home during the same time as drugs were being sold. The City says he hasn't done anything to stop the activity until Wednesday night when he filed eviction paperwork for two of the residents at the home.

"I suppose better late than never but I expect that was probably in response to some of the attention that this case has had," Hough said.

After the ruling, Julien and his attorney left the court room and declined to answer questions about the situation.

The city says they received numerous complaints from residents in the neighborhood and the school after the activities happening in the house started making its way to the streets and on the school grounds.

Ald. Russell Stamper credits his community for pointing out something wrong going on.

"That's horrible," Stamper said. "We need more enforcement and stepping up from the community when they see that negative activity and report that. This is a result of what happens with the community complains and reports on stuff that shouldn't be in our community and particularly when it's across the street from a school."

Julien's attorney is expected to review the order Thursday and Hough says they should be able to board up the home on Friday.

It's news people like Jordan Shabani are glad to hear.

"It makes me feel so good," Shabani said. "I didn't like this place because of that. I feel embarrassed to my kids. They just grow up and they know exactly, that this is a prostitute. We are embarrassed. If those kind of activities continue, I would have to move."