For the second time this year, the yellow house at 1505 Fern Street in South Park was raided by law-enforcement officers and its occupants arrested. At 5 a.m. on the morning of June 11, an San Diego police SWAT team surrounded and forcefully entered the home to serve a narcotics warrant. Reportedly breaking windows with flash grenades, the team was supported by dozens of narcotics and patrol officers, armored vehicles, and a helicopter.
While the house is divided into at least two separate residences, the warrant served covered all addresses of the property. Four of the home's inhabitants were arrested and charged with a combination of offenses, including possession of methamphetamine for sale and possession of counterfeit currency.
One resident of the home, Eric Dehart, seems to be at the center of the continuing attention law enforcement has paid to this home in recent years. Reportedly the son of the property's owner, Dehart has a history of criminal charges prior to this arrest, according to court records. In addition to drug and forgery charges, he was arraigned Friday, June 13, for committing a felony while free on bail for at least one existing case.
District attorney records indicate Dehart is scheduled to appear in court on Monday, June 16, for a sentencing hearing for that previous case, for which he already pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine for sale, as well as committing a felony while on bail for yet another pre-existing charge. Somehow, he was still free on bail pending this sentencing hearing and managed to squeeze in one more arrest before what may have been his last weekend of freedom.
A representative from the DA's office suggests the sentencing hearing scheduled for Monday will be postponed until the new spate of charges can be settled and that his sentencing will be assessed to cover all convictions pertaining to these cases. However, while bail for the current charges was set at $25,000 as a matter of procedure, his status for the previous case was reset by the judge to “no bail,” meaning Dehart should not be eligible for release again prior to sentencing...at least not without some pretty significant lawyering.
Public records indicate the home has been owned by the Joyce Dehart Family Trust since 2005. According to neighbors, the current spate of problems began not long after the trust took ownership, with one witness speculating there have been as many as five or six police raids on the home since 2006, another confirming "at least three."
"We all thought it was funny the first couple of times," said a nearby resident, adding that now, "we've about had it." Some contend this has been "a drug house" for years and has continued to be, despite the protracted efforts of law enforcement.
Several adults seemed to reside in the home, which is divided between two street addresses, 1505 and 1505-1/2. An occupant who was not present for the early-morning raid volunteered herself to authorities at the house later in the day. The young woman did not give her name but claimed she only rents a room in the house and had nothing to do with any illegal activities. It was not immediately clear whether she was one of the four individuals charged.
Eyewitnesses estimate between 40 and 60 officers took part in the June 11 raid, which began early and without notice, while police barriers cordoned off the blocks immediately surrounding the intersection of Beech Street and Fern. Officers approached from the street and through surrounding yards. Paramedics were on hand, though no injuries have been reported.
A January 15 raid conducted by U.S. Marshals at the same location served a different warrant. The San Diego office of the U.S. Marshals Service has not been forthcoming with the circumstances of that raid.