The house at 911 W. First St. was the subject of a complaint at City Council the night prior to a drug enforcement raid.

Meth seized, two arrests made during search warrant

The raid was coincidentally preceded by owner of house next door taking nuisance complaint to City Council

Just hours after Frank Lundien asked the Webb City Council for help cleaning up the “eyesore” at 911 W.  First St., methamphetamine was seized there and two people were arrested.

Police Chief Don Melton says the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team had been planning for a couple of days to conduct the search warrant. It just so happened that it occurred after Lundien’s complaint.

The house at 911 W. First St. is the same that was involved in the lock-down of the neighborhood, including Webb City Junior High School, which is less than a block away.

On May 12, officers followed two suspected burglars to 911 W. First St., where they refused to come out until prompted with chemicals by the Jasper County Special Response Team. For much of the school day, junior high students were gathered on the east side of the building, which is the farthest away from the surrounded house.

The search warrant was served at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. The early time was selected to avoid school traffic, according to Melton.

ODET Commander Chad Allison said the team and Webb City Police Officers seized a large quantity of methamphetamines and several firearms.

ODET detectives arrested Sterling Bryce Peppers, 44, 2517 Apricot Drive, Joplin, and another subject wanted on a warrant for probation violation.

Peppers was charged with four felonies: trafficking drugs or attempt-1st degree, endangering the welfare of a child involving druge-1st degree, and two counts of possession of a weapon and a felony-controlled substance. He was being held on a $50,000 cash-only bond.

According to the mapping service Beacon, 911 W. First St. is owned by Eva M. Hulen.

Lundien, 1322 W. Fifth St., took his complaint about 911 W. First St. to the council Monday during the time alloted for visitors to speak at the beginning of each council meeting.

He owns the house at 909 W. First St. and said he was afraid of losing his longtime good tenants because the house next door, always “a bit of an eyesore” has been getting progressively worse the last couple of years.

He said it’s like a salvage yard in the back and people are living in a tent behind the house.

It’s such a nuisance, he said he has received approval from the Board of Adjustments and Appeals to build a 6-foot-high fence to shield the view west from his rental house to 911 W. First St.

Lundien said notices from the code enforcement officer to clean up the property have been ignored.

There have been two municipal court fines, but they only total $58.

“This is what happens when people find the system has no teeth,” said Mayor Lynn Ragsdale.

He told Lundien the best available approach is to get an order to clean up the outside of the property. “We’re going to keep pursuing this,” he promised.