The owner of a house in Minneapolis’ Fulton neighborhood where police found a meth lab last week faces cleanup orders and potential fines, but can continue to live in the home, a city spokesman said Thursday.
For now, the city’s regulatory services division will issue a cleanup order for the back yard, which earlier this week was littered with bicycles, an electric scooter, clothes, a broken electric stove, and other odds and ends. Fines will follow in 30 days if the cleanup doesn’t happen, said spokesman Matt Lindstrom.
Owner Sara M. Shenton also must pay for the police-ordered cleanup of the meth lab, which has already taken place.
City records show the house at 5137 Abbott Av. S. still registered to Sylvia Vargovich, an Isanti woman who died more than two years ago at age 79. Neighbors said a relative of hers moved into the house two years ago.
The house is valued at $48,300 and the land at $147,700.
City records show Shenton has paid the tax bills, and a regulatory services official confirmed that she is the owner. Calls to Shenton’s listed phone number on Wednesday were disconnected after one ring.
Shenton, 37, also is listed as owning a property in northeast Minneapolis. She was booked into the Ramsey County jail in 2012 on a felony drug charge. A criminal complaint says she was found sleeping in the back of a blue van parked on Rush Creek Trail in New Brighton with its doors open. When police officers arrived, she told them that she thought she was in Minneapolis. Police found an altered Minnesota license plate inside the van, along with a blue Adderall pill Shenton said was hers despite not having a prescription. She will make her first court appearance on fifth-degree drug possession charges on May 9.
Authorities were led to the house April 11 while searching for Jeremy Daniel Gonser, a 37-year-old Coon Rapids man wanted on warrants for drug possession and theft. He was seen outside the house, and when he went back inside, officers from the U.S. Marshals North Star Fugitive Task Force followed.
The house smelled like chemicals, and officers’ eyes began to itch and burn. Five people, including Gonser and Starlet Mae Johnson, 27, were taken out of the house and handcuffed on the front lawn.
Johnson was initially tied to a Minneapolis address on 4th Avenue S., but relatives said she no longer lives there.
Methamphetamine ranks as one of the most commonly seized illegal drugs in the seven-county metro area, according to drug abuse expert Carol Falkowski.