A North County property owner and five others were arrested Tuesday in a raid at a Vista home believed to be at the center of years of drug deals, thefts and firearms violations in San Diego.
Sean Terrence Sheeter, the owner of a four-acre property on Poinsettia Avenue, was charged by federal prosecutors under a statute known as the "crack house" indictment that could force him to forfeit the home east of Sycamore Avenue and south of state Route 78.
It’s only the second time the statute has been used in the U.S. Southern District of California.
"We’ve used that statute today to restore safety to a neighborhood in Vista, California that has been terrorized by criminal activity at one crime-infested property,” U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said.
Neighbors saw dozens of uniformed and undercover law enforcement officers swarm the home early Tuesday morning.
“I came up Poinsettia here and there was 25 to 30 cars, five or six cop cars, and a bunch of scruffy guys in the back," said Lucas Herndon, who was on his way to work at the time.
Residents told NBC 7 that over the years they saw lots of cars and people coming and going from the property, which is across the street from an elementary school.
Since 2017, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department has made nearly six-dozen calls to the home -- responding to everything from stolen vehicles, to armed suspicious people and threats. At least 22 arrests and seven citations have been made at the property, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
“We allege that this property is a drug-laden haven for violent felons, gang members, drug dealers and drug users,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer.
A multi-year investigation led by the North County Regional Gang Task Force involved months of federal wiretaps, multiple undercover drug buys, and surveillance that led investigators to learn about the criminal activity on the property.
If convicted on charges of Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises and Criminal Forfeiture the maximum penalty Sheeter faces is twenty years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
The FBI, SDSO, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security, the California Highway Patrol and the police departments of Carlsbad, Oceanside and Escondido all had a hand in the investigation.