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Pearl District Meth Bust

Cops Arrest Northwest Portland Condo Owner



THE COPS SAY they started hearing from some neighbors at the Pearl District's Irving Street Lofts several months ago, after an unusually large number of visitors started showing up to unit 408.

"We're talking sometimes 70-80 visitors in a 24-hour period," says Officer Mark Friedman, whose investigative work, along with the sharp eyes of some anonymous residents of the building, led to the arrest of the owner of a high-end condo on April Fool's Day, on allegations of meth distribution.

The numerous visitors were allegedly showing up with car stereo speakers, flat-panel TVs, construction equipment, and other unusual goods, and walking away empty-handed. Following the residents' tip-off, cops waited outside the building and stopped two people who visited the unit with similar items—both had a significant number of meth-related arrests.

Officer Friedman was able to secure a community warrant to search the unit, based on observations from residents and the corroborative records of the visitors he had stopped. Friedman says officers recovered some meth from the unit, along with packaging materials, drug scales, drug records, and "a bevy of presumed stolen property," including computers, plumbing fixtures, and even a steel catering microwave.

Russell Dealy, 44, the sole owner of the unit, was arrested for alleged identity theft, theft, and delivery and possession of meth, and taken to the Multnomah County Detention Center. Dealy told officers he had inherited money to buy the condo, but that he had started hanging out with old friends, according to Friedman.

"A building like that is the perfect cover for that type of operation," says Friedman. "It's a building lived in by busy professionals, so that type of behavior wouldn't stick out right away."

The Irving Street Lofts were built as a warehouse in 1924 for the Blumauer-Frank Drug Company. The building was converted to rentals and artists' lofts in the late 1980s and into condos in 1995. Maxine Cracraft, chair of the Irving Street Lofts Homeowners Association, declined comment. Meanwhile, Dealy was scheduled for arraignment this week.


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