Community

Man behind suspected drug house convicted on two drug charges

By NATALIE MARTIN

A man who’s been called Vashon’s top methamphetamine dealer has been convicted on two drug charges.

Richard Arthur Grant, 48, was convicted in King County Superior Court on two counts of possession of methamphetamine and now faces one to two years in prison.

The conviction is welcome news to Grant’s neighbors, who say they have long suffered from suspected drug activity and related crime that centers around his home near the Vashon Airport.

“There’s been a constant stream of problems related to that house, and it’s unrelenting,” said Frank Shipley, whose family lives near Grant.

Heightened attention fell on Grant in 2012, when the body of a missing woman was found in a pond near his house. The King County Sheriff’s Office ruled her death an accident resulting from an overdose of methamphetamine.

But Shipley and others who live in Grant’s neighborhood have said that for years they’ve been bothered by what appears to be frequent drug activity at Grant’s home on 109th Ave. Neighbors have had regular confrontations with visitors to the house, who they say come and go at all hours, live in trailers outside the home and sometimes trespass. They suspect past property crimes in the neighborhood have been linked to the home as well.

Police, who have called Grant Vashon’s top meth dealer, have gone to his home to search for stolen property and criminal suspects. They say Grant — who has a lengthy criminal record that includes nine felony convictions — is periodically arrested on warrants or drug charges, but usually doesn’t go to jail for long and often gets off on technicalities.

“At least for once he is getting something,” said Kelly Wald, another islander who lives near Grant and believes the problems around his house haven’t let up.

“At times it does get better, but if you really have to sum it up, in the last year nothing has changed,” she said.

At the time of the young woman’s death, Grant faced a drug charge for an earlier arrest, where he was found to possess nearly 10 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to sell. Last May, he got off on a technicality involving a traffic stop and search. At the time he told deputies that he sold methamphetamine “to get by,” according to charging papers.

This time, however, Grant was convicted of charges stemming from two arrests in May of last year. Both times Grant was arrested on warrants, and both times he was found to possess small amounts of methamphetamine.

Deputy Jeff Hancock, who called The Beachcomber to report Grant’s conviction, said he believes some of Grant’s neighbors plan to go to his sentencing next month and either submit a letter or speak to the judge about their experiences, hoping to see him handed a harsher sentence.

Those who spoke with The Beachcomber expressed reserved optimism about Grant going to prison.

Grant’s brothers, who live off-island, have said in the past that if Grant goes to jail, they hope to clear out the home, which is owned by their elderly mother. Shipley and Wald both said that if that doesn’t happen, it’s likely that the problems will continue.

“It partially depends on what happens next,” Shipley said. “I think a good course of action would be to talk to the other family members who recall the problem and in good faith realize it needs a solution.”

Grant will be sentenced on May 1.

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