Closed for business: North Port police ‘drug house’ sign causes controversy

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:
A sign put up at a “drug house” by North Port Police Department (NPPD)

A sign is causing controversy in North Port after police placed it on a front lawn after a drug bust.

The sign reads, “This drug house closed for business, courtesy of the North Port Police Department.”

It’s said to have been placed to warn other customers or dealers, but does something like this work?

“Just like registering as a sex offender, you should register as a drug offender,” said Matt Scott of North Port, and he may just be onto something.

North Port Police seem to agree, calling out suspected drug dealers for the whole neighborhood to see.

“If you’re dealing drugs in North Port, you are standing out like a sore thumb,” said North Port PIO Josh Taylor.

Officers placed the sign outside a home on Waltrip Street immediately after executing a search warrant. They say they found meth and cocaine.

“I think the good way to stop crime of any type is to get it out there and say, ‘Hey, this guy did this,'” said Scott.

The signs are a first for North Port PD, but not everyone thinks the idea is clever.

“I thought it was completely ridiculous,” said neighbor, John Scott. “It looks like a joke sign. It was insane and completely ineffective.”

Now, Carlos Smith and Tavarious Smith face drug possession charges, which Carlos Smith calls a misunderstanding: “That’s the bottom line. Don’t nobody sell no drugs here, man.”

Carlos Smith (left) and Tavarious Smith (right) (NPPD)

Officers say they took the sign down a few hours after putting it up, since some of the people still living in the home didn’t face arrest.

But Charlotte County deputies say they’re considering a similar tactic, working to keep drugs out of all of Southwest Florida.

“I don’t like drugs. I don’t like them, specifically in the neighborhood,” said Scott.

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