Police find drug lab inside squatter-filled residence

Drug lab

HMN-After serving an eviction notice to squatters at a local residence, police made a discovery of a drug laboratory in Hamilton. (The Trentonian)

HAMILTON >> Since June, residents on the block have been complaining of a squatter situation in a vacant home.

When police went Friday afternoon to the 100 block of Reed Avenue to serve a court-ordered eviction, they found more possible illegal activity.

Evidence of narcotics manufacturing was located inside the residence, leading to a hazmat response, Hamilton police said Friday night in a statement.

Police said a white powder was recovered from the home, but was determined “not to be a life or health safety risk.”

One neighbor who has complained about the activity of the house to the township since June said different cars and people would show up at the property. On Thursday, someone arrived with a mattress.

“We were concerned that something serious was going on in there the way they were moving around and doing things,” the neighbor said. “We were complaining about that the whole time because all hours of the night they’re coming. They kicked the basement window out over there. The basement lights were on 24 hours a day.”

When the eviction case headed to court, the neighbor said no owner of the house would ever show.

When they finally did, the owner said “the occupants must have been living there illegally because no one was ever given a lease,” the neighbor said.

Friday was the day police were to serve the eviction notice but authorities found the home unoccupied.

Neighbors were initially tipped off to suspicious activity when they saw someone messing with the meters and water back in June.

“It’s always quiet,” another neighbor said of the street that is near the Trenton border. “It’s quiet as can be.”

A separate neighbor reported a strange smell from the squatter home on Friday morning and said someone was previously arrested from the residence.

Wild rumors spread on social media about the situation, claiming there was a meth lab or a dead body inside the home. But none of that gossip proved to be accurate.

Police reported no injuries and said the investigation is ongoing.

Two people were seen Friday night changing the locks of the house. A sign on the door read, “No trespassing. This is not for rent.”

According to property tax records, the home is owned by Ida and Rosa Burch. The home was purchased in 2005 for $1, records show.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Christopher Pullen of the Hamilton Police Division Criminal Investigations Section at 609-581-4080 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at 609-581-4008.

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