Police find nearby drug house

A Seattle Police SWAT team raided the house on Mary Ave NW and NW 70th St on the morning of April 24, less than half a mile away from the school.

Anna Ferkingstad, News Editor
Originally published June 13, 2013


Inside the house they found 1,200 grams of marijuana (99 marijuana cigarettes or “joints,” seven marijuana plants, eight trays of marijuana brownies), four shotguns, one .22 caliber rifle, six handguns, two pellet guns, and $4,755 in cash.

Inside the house they found 1,200 grams of marijuana (99 marijuana cigarettes or “joints,” seven marijuana plants, eight trays of marijuana brownies), four shotguns, one .22 caliber rifle, six handguns, two pellet guns, and $4,755 in cash.

On Mary avenue northwest and northwest 70th street stands a yellow house. The windows are covered, paint is chipping and the lawn neglected– the street lined daily with the cars of high school students.

“We had known about [the house] since last September,” security guard Greg Taufa’Asau said. “We noticed the activity on the street because a lot of our kids were walking up and down it during class… We would chase kids up the street and then they would just disappear.”

According to Principal Keven Wynkoop, administration speculated that the traffic was drug related. It wasn’t until the morning of April 24, however, when a Seattle Police SWAT team, narcotic detectives and patrol officers raided the house that this was confirmed.

Police had the house under surveillance for several weeks, catching multiple students on camera.

As stated by Taufa’Asau, reports of students at Whitman Middle School visiting the house were the final straw. “When you start selling to younger kids we’ve got to put a stop to it,” Taufa’Asau said.

Inside the house they found 1,200 grams of marijuana (99 marijuana cigarettes or “joints,” seven marijuana plants, eight trays of marijuana brownies), four shotguns, one .22 caliber rifle, six handguns, two pellet guns, and $4,755 in cash. Six people were arrested but as stated by Taufa’Asau, “no current student is involved with the selling and distribution.”

School security and administration helped the police department to identify the students caught on tape. Phone calls were then made through the police department to roughly 15 to 20 students, but were unaccompanied by school punishment. “The plan was to follow up with the families and there were going to be some hard conversations that were going to take place because of it. So, I think overall I’m really pleased with how it was handled,” Wynkoop said.

Shortly after the bust, the 2012 Healthy Youth Survey results were published and sources, such as KOMO News, began to report “Kids at two local schools use more pot and booze than average.” The Healthy Youth Survey, (a statewide survey given to students biannually), found that 35 percent of Ballard sophomores reported smoking marijuana in the past 30 days. The statewide average is 19 percent.

The media attention and survey results quickly sparked the decision to hold a Northwest Coalition meeting, (a partnership between Ballard, Whitman, and other surrounding schools that was started by parents). “There has been some focus on our school recently in the media… and it can certainly add to a perception of a negative reputation,” Wynkoop said. “Taken out of context, it looks like we are the only ones that have had the problem. The reality is that Seattle high schools have a higher marijuana use than the rest of the state.”

According to security guards Taufa’Afau and Yalando Wynters freshmen, sophomores and juniors tend to have higher drug rates than seniors. Seniors have “gotten to the point where they don’t want to miss the end of high school,” or they just “do it off campus,” Wynters said.

In response to the recent survey, Wynkoop said “Is there too much drug and alcohol use? Yes, but that shouldn’t overshadow the fact that a large majority of the students are doing truly extraordinary things. We’ve just got to keep getting that part out there.”