Thirteen people were detained and identified by police Wednesday morning at what they describe as “a known high crime activity home” in an east Baker City neighborhood.
The operation, conducted by members of the Baker County Narcotics Enforcement Team, took place at 2339 East St., said Baker City Police Lt. Ty Duby.
The home had been owned by James Coe until March 15, 2020, when U.S. Bank took ownership of the 864-square-foot house and property for $15,201, according to Baker County Assessor’s Office records. Coe has continued to live at the address.
Duby characterized the property as “a flop house,” which is known to welcome transients, many of whom have been involved in criminal activity.
He said these people were found at Coe’s house Wednesday: James Reedy, Margaret Lacey, Emily Speelman, Chuck Briney, Alexander Harold Wise, Brandon Radle, Trevor Heath, Chad Cox, Eliannah Banister, Jeffery Heller, Christopher Griffith, Mariam “Evee” Collard and Haden Buck.
Buck, 25, of Klamath Falls, was arrested and lodged at the Baker County Jail on a Josephine County warrant charging him with a post-prison supervision violation on original charges of burglary and dangerous drugs, Duby said.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions at the jail, three others were cited and released.
Briney, 27, of Baker City, was cited on a Baker County Circuit Court warrant charging him with failure to appear.
Griffith, 27, of Baker City, was cited on multiple Baker County Circuit Court warrants charging him with failure to appear.
Wise, 18, of Baker City, was cited on a Union County warrant charging him with failure to appear.
A fifth person, Chad Cox, was wanted on an Idaho warrant, but the state of Idaho declined to extradite him, Duby said.
Wednesday’s enforcement effort is a renewal of past activity of the Baker County Narcotics Enforcement Team (BCNET), Duby said. The team had not been actively operating in the area for several years because of limited resources.
Duby said the focus of the BCNET as it continues to gain momentum will be on crimes related to drugs, guns and violence in the Baker County area.
He pointed to other recent BCNET activity that has led to three additional arrests.
Chet Lee Schisler, 37, has been held at the Baker County Jail since May 13 on charges of felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful delivery of methamphetamine, unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Police found a firearm and about a quarter pound of methamphetamine during the arrest.
Duby said a second arrest was made in conjunction with that case. Buddy Pfaff, 34, was involved in a freeway crash on May 12 and when OSP officers executed a warrant on his vehicle the next day, a small amount of methamphetamine was found.
A warrant was issued on June 4 charging Pfaff with possession of methamphetamine. Pfaff was contacted by OSP on June 11 and cited to appear on the charge in Baker County Circuit Court.
The third man, Steven Lynn Whitney, 53, was arrested on May 27 when members of BCNET and the Union County Drug task force executed a search warrant at 2715 Second St. for the purpose of locating Whitney, Duby said.
The Second Street house also has had a reputation for illegal activity over the past couple of years, according to police.
Whitney is being held at the Baker County Jail on multiple drug charges and violation of his release agreement.
Whitney was the subject of a Baker City Police Department investigation in 2017, Duby said. Whitney was scheduled to plead guilty to multiple drug-related charges on May 24, 2019, but instead did not show up for court and absconded from supervision.
As a result of the narcotics team investigation, a warrant was issued and Whitney has been returned to custody.