Grenade launcher, major drug lab found at Eastlake home

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SEATTLE - Two men are being held after police found military-grade weapons, including a grenade launcher, and a major drug-making lab following a two-hour standoff at a home in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood Thursday evening.

 

Seattle police detectives said after following up on information that a violent, possibly armed fugitive was in the neighborhood, a law enforcement team developed a plan to take the man into custody. Seattle police surrounded the home, had two armored tanks and snipers on the roofs of neighbors’ houses while eight people inside refused to come out of the home in the 2700 block of Minor Avenue East.

 

SWAT, narcotics, bomb squad and patrol officers were at the scene. Eventually, SWAT crews launched percussion grenades, and the people inside emerged.

 

"I guess they were doing their job, but I guess it was a little excessive," said Katrina Arieff, who told KIRO 7 she's lived in the house for six years.

 

The police captain at the scene said some of the people in the home had warrants.  Two of the eight people, a 27-year-old man and his 33-year-old brother, were arrested on warrants and booked into the King County Jail on various charges. Police said the 27-year-old was wanted on an outstanding federal fugitive warrant as well as local charges.

 

One of those men, James Joseph Hendricks, is being held on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm.

 

Arieff said Hendricks doesn't live at the house, but that she's been friends with him for years.

 

"I didn't see him bring anything in like that (a weapon)," she said. "I can't even say that they were really, you know -- he didn't bring them in so...."

 

Some neighbors called the house a scourge.

 

“We have known about the drug dealing and curbside service. Cars pull up and get their drugs,” said neighbor Doreen O'Connor-Nash.

 

Officers wearing surgical masks entered the home.  Some told neighbors they found a major methamphetamine manufacturing operation in the basement, as well as dangerous illegal weapons. Police confirmed that some of the weapons at the home included two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.  One was equipped with a military-style grenade launcher.

 

“To hear that there are military-grade weapons is beyond the pale for all of us, I think,” said  O'Connor-Nash, a neighborhood board member.   Police told her what was found in the home. “Automatic weapons and a grenade launcher were mentioned, so that’s scary.”

 

Arieff didn't want to talk to KIRO 7 at first, but then decided to respond to rumors about drugs at the house.

 

"No, no, no. I don't sell drugs," she said. "If I sold drugs, I might have a little cash in my pocket."

 

Police said the investigation will take some time, but neighbors said they are relieved.

 

“The wheels have turned slowly, but something finally happened, so I think we’re restored somewhat,” said O'Connor-Nash.