Driving hours daily for drugs: the troubleshooter investigates

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:04 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 7:14 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In July, I investigated a mother’s complaint about the failure to charge anyone in the overdose death of her son, or even crack down on the alleged drug house where she says he bought the heroin near 27th Street and Slevin Street.

The house was still flourishing with what appeared to be drug activity when I secretly watched. Then on October 4, a suspected drug overdose death was reported in the same house at 311 North 27th Street.

While nothing changed there, it did at an alleged drug house only two blocks away.

“When you aired the story, they would quit going to houses and start meeting on side streets in different vehicles, and it would be a drop and go,” a man who requested we not identify him for his protection said.

“So after I did that story at 27th and Slevin that changed the conduct on 25th and Slevin?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

How did he know? He said a friend of his was making the two-hour round trip drives from their town to 25th and Slevin to get heroin every day.

“This was the person’s daily routine for months?” I asked. “Coming to Louisville like this?”

“I would say years,” he said.

“Years to the same dealer?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. “Addicts, once they find a good product, they want to stick with it. Just like whenever we find a good restaurant, we keep going to that restaurant to get a good deal.”

The restaurant was located at 2511 Slevin Street. Our informant sent me pictures of the alleged dealer, his vehicle, and the home, because he sometimes made the trip here with his friend for protection.

“I brought them here because their mother begged ‘if you don’t take them someone else will and might not come home,’” he said.

“Were you ever scared when you were sitting outside?” I asked.

“Oh many times,” he said. “Every time. Not just many times but every time. I’m from a small town. When you’re from a small town in a big city, there’s so many eyes watching. I felt like a thousand eyes watching my vehicle when I pulled in. I would always carry my handgun in my lap in case somebody come up on me, bust my windows or shoot, whatever, because I didn’t know what’s going on around other gangs or other dealers want to rob, whatever. You’ve got other addicts are watching that house.”

I was watching it too, undercover. The activity played out exactly as he described.

A man in a blue pickup pulling up, sitting in the vehicle for sometimes hours at a time. The pickup driver got out and escorted the people who walked up around the side of the house to a back door. Then they both emerged a couple minutes later.

Same routine over and over in the daylight, after dark, or when it was raining. The home stayed busy every time I watched with people being dropped off by waiting cars, or coming and going by motorcycle or by bicycle, undaunted by the police driving by as they were coming out.

“They would take me to the address,” our informant said. “They would go inside, come back out and be just, they’d already be high when they would come back out and we’d get in the car and leave. Within 15, 20, 30 minutes, they would be passed out for hours. And soon as they would wake up it would be ‘let’s go again.’”

After watching and recording for a couple weeks, I tried to interview the pickup driver in the middle of the routine.

“John Boel with WAVE 3,” I said while walking up to him just outside the vehicle.

“I ain’t got no comment,” he said, turning and walking away down the sidewalk.

“Could I ask you couple questions?” I asked as I followed.

“I ain’t got no time to answer no questions,” he said.

“Want to ask you about this drug operation that’s running here at this house,” I said.

“I don’t know nothing about no drugs, man,” he said.

“I got contacted by a guy who’s been coming here and told me how it all works,” I said.

“You’re invading my space,” he said, reaching in his front hoodie pocket, at which time I cut off the interview attempt.

The license plate on the blue pickup he drove traced back to a man who has listed 2511 Slevin Street as one of his addresses, and was sent to prison after pleading guilty to cocaine trafficking.

Our informant said what’s going on there is worse than a crime. He said it’s profiting off of someone’s disease. He stopped coming and stopped enabling after attending narcotics anonymous meetings to educate himself on what his friend is dealing with.

“I always thought it was a choice and they could quit,” he said. “But after being around them for over a year, it’s not a choice. It’s a disease.”

If you or someone you know wants help with addiction, one of many good resources is Seven Counties Services. Their 24-hour hotline is (502) 583-3951.

Our informant said he has shared his information with law enforcement.

“So far the police seem to be dragging their feet,” he said.

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