Tenants admit to paying rent at “Safe Harbor” home


SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Circumstances caused Loni to move into a home raided by police Thursday.

Loni wouldn’t release her last name and was detained by Salt Lake City police after the home was shutdown by the county’s health department.

Thursday, 25-people were arrested by law enforcement as part of Operation Rio Grande.  A spokesman for the Utah Highway Patrol which is overseeing the raid, said they are still investigating those arrested for possible charges.

Police found evidence of drugs, guns, ammo and possible human trafficking at the home at 148 Naxon Court.

Salt Lake City police were called back to the home after receiving information that people were still staying at the home.  The UHP called the home a safe harbor for those who stayed there.

After she was questioned, Loni spoke with ABC4 news.

She said she was renting at the home.

“There was (a lot of people staying there).” she said.  “I wasn’t here very long so I couldn’t tell you.”

The home was shutdown by the county health department for possible drug contamination.

Neighbors weren’t surprised by the number of people taken by police Thursday.   Chris Hunt said people told her they paid $25 to rent space at the home.  She said they would either live inside or outside in tents or the sheds.

“They would take showers in the yard and they would go to the bathroom in the yard,” said Hunt.

Loni said she paid rent for a room upstairs.  She was asked about those living conditions.

“Not very great but it was a roof over my head,” Loni said.  “Circumstances brought me here.”

Another unidentified man showed up in an attempt to gather his belongings at the home.  Police told him he couldn’t enter the home.

“You know what’s up already,” he responded when asked about living there.

When asked how much he was paying to stay there he answered “enough,” and left immediately.

Stormie Tiede said she and her younger siblings weren’t allowed beyond the front steps because of the danger in front of their home.

“They would stand out here and we would watch them shoot up and look for needles,” the teenager said.  “You could hear the traffic, in and out, cars coming up.”

Loni who admitted to the large number of people staying at the home speculated drugs were present there.

“I imagine a lot of traffic was due to drug traffic but I didn’t know a lot of people,” she said.  “I wasn’t here very long so I really wasn’t involved in a lot of that.”

Hunt said they’ve complained over the past year to both police and the health department about the home.  She said they never got any results.  But after Thursday’s raid Hunt said all that’s forgotten.

“Yes they are forgiven,” she said.  “They are forgiven.  They told me to be patient and they made up for it.”

According to a spokesman for the county’s health department they’ve received one complaint in the past three years.  That complaint of too many people at the home happened last month according to the department.  He said police and inspectors arrived and told people to leave. 

A spokesman for Salt Lake City police said they did not have information available about the number of police calls to the home.

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