Neighbors defend “Hit House”

PRICHARD, Ala. – Many of the people who were arrested at a Prichard Hit House were taken to Metro on previous warrants ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. Police were still signing warrants Monday on the new charges  from the Saturday raid.

“We discovered the Blue Light and they torn it up,” a neighbor said.

This man who didn’t give his name says he’s glad he wasn’t at his favorite weekend hang-out when police showed up Saturday.

“It was some place that we could go and do what we do,” the man said.

But, Assistant District Attorney Debra Tillman said not  everyone was happy with the operation that attracted hundreds of people every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“There are people in that neighborhood who do not like what is going on in that neighborhood, and they have complained to the Prichard Police Department, and police have taken action which is what those citizens want,” Tillman said.

Police raided the house based on those complaints to the city’s new tip line. Chief Jerry Speziale said dozens of law enforcement officers from several agencies helped his department carry out the raid.

“We surrounded the location because  it has three exits and entrance ways,” the chief said.

“It was a party. And you at your house and you have a right to do that at your house,” another neighbor said.

“It’s not illegal to have a party at your house, but it is illegal to sell alcohol out of your house, and it certainly is illegal to have controlled substances in your house,”  Tillman explained.

Neighbors who support the Blue Light said it’s not illegal to have big parties at your home, and they’re right.  So before police could even get a warrant for the weekend raid they had to come up with some evidence that there was some illegal activity going on inside the house.

Tillman said informants and undercover officers usually go in and buy alcohol and drugs before they show up for the raid.

“After they’ve made several  of the buys then they would take that information back to a judge in order to get a search warrant,” Tillman said.

Police seized marijuana, synthetic marijuana, bath salts, cash, and 5 handguns.

The chief said there were rooms that were designated for various activities in the home.  He said gang members had their own room,  and drug users had another.

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