Law Firm of Scott T. Moorey

Drug bust across from elementary school

A drug house raid on Pine Island put a school on lock down. All of this happened right across the street from Pine Island Elementary on Tipton Drive in Bokeelia. We tracked down one parent who says drugs have been a problem on this street for too long.

"Woke up to what sounded like, from my apartment, a war zone," said Lee Hagen, a neighbor. Hagen watched as Lee County deputies raided this Bokeelia home for drugs. "I did not realize what we got into when we moved here," said Hagen.

Undercover investigators focused on the Tipton Drive home for four months. Detectives tell us a confidential informant went there 6 times and bought pills from 46-year-old Shelly Nichols. And once from Nichols' aunt 67-year-old Mary Wengatz who also lives on the block. "Everyone knew about it. But no one ever did anything about it," said Hagen.

All of this went down right across the street from an elementary school. During the raid, Pine Island Elementary School went on lockdown for 45 minutes. Some parents we talked to appreciated the precaution.

"The school is very safe and they have only the first and foremost protection for the children," said Christine McElwain, a parent. "It sounded like they handled it very well," said parent Cindy Bennett. Deputies arrested these four people in connection with the drug house.

Now, neighbors wonder if it will be safe enough to let their children out of sight. "All the children on this street are highly supervised. It's a terrible place to live," added Hagen.

Article by Leigh Dana,, 4/27/13

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