Arrest in La Crosse drug raid brings some relief to neighbors
Heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana were at the center of the drug raid.
Police said the department's drug unit and other law enforcement agencies found nearly $10,000 worth of drugs in the apartment at 2001 State Rd.
That includes almost 40-grams of heroin with a street value of $8,000.
They also arrested Eugene Shields, 32.
Police said his arrest was several months in the making and is significant in getting drugs off the street.
“It definitely shows that he had intent to deliver, so it's a good substantial amount of heroin and cocaine that he had in his possession at the residence,” said Lt. Patrick Hogan of the La Crosse Police Department. “He was a good arrest for us to have. He's been arrested before. He's definitely had a couple of felonies and convictions for drug violations.”
The arrest brings some relief to neighbors in the area.
Some also said they've been reporting suspicious activity at the address a long time, but law enforcement says it takes time to make sure they catch the right person.
For the past 13 years, Larry Brague has taken a seat in Ace Barbershop on State Road to get his hair cut.
Lately, the apartment across the street always seems to come up in conversation.
“We would sit here and look out the window and wonder what is going on over there,” said Brague. “Something's going on over there, but we never did try to figure out what.”
Shop owner Dave Osely said this neighborhood has been a good place for business, but looking out the window, he too couldn't figure out what was so suspicious.
“I really didn't have any idea that there were drugs going on,” said Osely.
One woman who wanted to remain anonymous said she watched from a nearby home as law enforcement raided the apartment across the street on Monday.
She said looking back, she's not surprised drugs were found.
“You'd see groups of people like huddled around,” she said. “It could just be people talking, which is why I wasn't necessarily suspicious, but looking back it's like ‘oh, yeah I suppose I'm not surprised.’”
Some neighbors didn’t want to go on camera, but they said they have been reporting drug activity at this address for more than a year.
“It's been an ongoing investigation,” said Hogan.
He said it takes time to build a solid case.
“In certain cases, they can do controlled buys with the drug suspect,” said Hogan. “They can also just collect information that drug activity may be going on at that location, and if they have enough information about a location that there's drugs being sold, then we're able to get a search warrant.”
Residents can breathe a little easier now that an arrest has been made.
“(It's) safer, absolutely safer,” said Osley.
“Knowing that the police are getting them, maybe one at a time, but they're getting them,” said Brague.
Hogan said the time it takes to gather enough evidence is different for every case.
He said cooperation from neighbors can also help speed along the process of potentially making an arrest.
Sheilds is expected to be in court Wednesday.
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