When the landlords of a Georgia rental house found drugs inside, they did what most landlords would do — they called the authorities. Now, the landlords say they will be forever hesitant to take that step.
According to a news report, the couple had stopped by the property, with their child in tow, to secure it after their tenants had been busted for drugs during a traffic stop.
Earlier in the month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security had arrested the three tenants when drugs were discovered in their vehicle.
The landlords were asked to provide federal agents with information from the rental applications. According to the report, the landlords say that federal officials had released the house back to them to secure and restore.
But when the couple went into the property, they discovered bags of drugs still hidden inside a hole in one of the walls. The next thing they knew, they were in jail.
When the landlords discovered the hidden cache, they called the same ICE agent they had been working with. That agent, according to one landlord’s statement, told them to call 911 to dispatch local police to retrieve the drugs. The landlords then waited outside. Their child remained in the car.
Local police arrived first, and then appeared disgruntled that the ICE agent was involved, according to the landlords. They say that once the ICE agent left the scene, local police separated the couple and began to interrogate them.
Detectives accused the couple of complicity and tampering with evidence. Both were arrested at the house, while the panicked child was left behind with a bystander who promised to contact relatives.
The landlords remained in jail for two days before being arraigned, and are now out on bond, facing the state tampering charges, according to the report.
Both federal and state authorities have denied responsibility, according to the report. Federal officials say the couple was not arrested under federal law; state officials said the case is being investigated by federal authorities.
The couple says their cellphone contains a message from the federal agent apologizing for the confusion, according to the report.