After SWAT raid and meth bust, neighbors want Vancouver house bulldozed

DRUG RAID FOLO

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- People living in a Northeast Vancouver neighborhood want a repeat problem bulldozed, especially after watching SWAT teams and police officers storm the property this weekend.

And it wasn’t the first time.

“This residence here has been a constant problem and eyesore,” said Sgt. Pat Moore of the Vancouver Police Department. “This is a well-known location for law enforcement.”

Surrounded by broken-down cars, dilapidated sheds and flat-out junk, the home at Northeast 112th and Rosewood, as a pink posted notice shows, in dangerous condition.

Saturday, that danger spiked after police got a tip that people inside the home were making and selling methamphetamine.

“This is probably, more likely a drug house,” Sgt. Moore said.

Neighbors watched late Saturday afternoon as SWAT teams moved in and found, not just the drugs, but nine guns. Some of them were stolen.

56-year-old William Rathgeber, the home’s owner, and 43-year-old Gabriel Lawson were arrested.

Rathgeber, a repeat offender, faces 13 felony counts, including possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of firearm, possession of stolen firearms and maintaining a drug house.

He was arrested on similar charges, also at his home, back in May.

That case is still pending.

Lawson was arrested after he ran from police. Detectives later found he was wanted on a felony warrant out of Port Angelas, Washington and a misdemeanor warrant out of Clark County.

Police say Lawson also had methamphetamine on him.

Sgt. Moore said complaints about the home are frequent. Many come from parents at students at Covington Middle School.

It happens to sit right across the street.

“There's middle-school children crossing this crosswalk, there's buses going up and down this road,” he said.

A woman, walking in the area Sunday didn’t want to give her name, fearing retribution by people staying in the home.

“My little sister just finished school here a couple years ago,” she said of Covington. “I would actually walk and meet her halfway because I didn't think it was safe for her to be walking the street here.”

Other neighbors said they’ve seen bonfires and open drug use on the property.

One woman said she recently found burned arrows in her backyard. She believes it came from people there.

Police say Clark County Code Enforcement is now zeroing in on the house.

KGW


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