Two homes in Bluff City are going on the auction block, and you may be surprised to learn where they are coming from.
The Sullivan County Sheriff's Department said a tip in November of 2011 led to an investigation that ended in a massive drug raid, and the seizure of two homes. But now, the tables are turned. These homes could end up helping to fight crime.
They may look like any other vacant homes; quiet and empty. But police say a mobile home on Jarrell Drive in Bluff City was once a front for a major indoor marijuana operation, as was another one on Old Mountain View Road; that is until it all ended in a raid neighbors won't soon forget.
"I kept hearing car doors open and close and a lot of commotion which is usually not around here," said Bubie Tanner, a resident who lives right across the street from the seized home on Old Mountain View Road.
The bust left police with $54,000 dollars worth of drugs and the homes themselves.
"The mobile homes were owned by one of the suspects. No money was owed against the mobile homes so we were able to seize them," said Leslie Earhart, public information officer with the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department.
Now, more than a year later, they are up for grabs for anyone.
For the very first time, the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department is auctioning off mobile homes on GovDeals.com, something they're usually not able to do with because of ownership restraints and even drugs found in our region.
"If in fact it had been a situation where a meth lab was found inside, we could not safely auction those mobile homes off," Earhart explained.
With bids starting at $750, these homes could bring in a big chunk of change when extra cash flow is hard to come by. The money the Sheriff's Department receives from selling these homes, they'll actually use to fight drug crime in the future.
"Investigating drug cases in extremely expensive in overtime costs alone, so whatever money we make in these will be put back into the vice and narcotics division," added Earhart.
That's good news for residents hoping to keep their street drug-free and welcome in some new neighbors.
Bubie Tanner would like to see "good, quiet, people [who] don’t start a lot of trouble," he said. "It'd be nice to have somebody back in here."
More facts on this online auction:
Again, these homes are posted on GovDeals.com.
The last day to make a bid is December 19, and this is just for the homes themselves, the lots would still have monthly fees if they stayed there.