Rare video captures SWAT swarming suspected drug house
Jacksonville couple turns to I-TEAM, gets justice in their neighborhood
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville couple sick and tired of drugs being peddled out of the house next door and feeling not enough was being done to stop it turned to the I-TEAM for help.
Jose and Marci Arguellas said they reported the activity it to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office before contacting the I-TEAM.
“I’m reaching out to y’all and hopefully we can get something done. I mean, I stay up until three or four in the morning. I get about three hours sleep a night,” said Jose.
Jose has been so worried about his and his wife’s safety, he installed eight surveillance cameras outside his Lynbrook Drive home so they could watch for trouble. The U.S. Marine Corps veteran said he and Marci armed themselves too, just in case violence from next door spilled onto their property.
“Every day, different vehicles will pull up right here and they only stay about three minutes,” Jose said, pointing to a large computer screen that shows the different exterior shots of the road outside his South Metro home as well as the front and backyard of the house next door.
The I-TEAM spent weeks looking at the video captured on Jose and Marci's surveillance cameras and we watched:
- Vehicles drove up and parked along the street
- Either a driver or passenger would leave the vehicle
- Nearly every person bypassed the front door of the home and walked around back
Why the backyard? The Arguellas' said a lot of the drug dealing was done from a window facing the backyard.
While we could not see the window in the video, the Arguellas’ said a screen to a bedroom had been removed, which allowed people inside the home to exchange drugs for money to those walking up.
We timed it. After only being about a minute or two, each person could be seen reemerging from the backyard, returning to their vehicles and leaving.
Marci told us she is not only concerned about the drug dealing, she is nervous that a drug deal will go bad.
“That the guns will come out,” she said referencing video which shows people visiting the home next door as early as six o'clock in the morning and then going on all day.
Marci has even kept a log of all the visits, which she said is constant, seven days a week.
“The entire neighborhood is scared,” she said when we interviewed her last month at the start of our investigation.
Also captured on surveillance video several times a day:
- Vehicles pulling up to the house and waiting, with the driver never getting out
- One of the two men who lived in the home would walk to the waiting vehicle, bend down and talk with the driver through the driver’s side window
- After a minute or two, the man would walk away, appearing to have something in his hand and concealing whatever it was in his pocket
The vehicles caught on camera were usually different, but we did notice frequent repeat visitors. Two of them appeared to be on the job when they visited the house. For example:
Work vehicle #1: A pickup truck with a trailer filled with what looked like fencing material, pulled up to the home. The passenger got out, walked to the backyard and after a minute or two later, left in the truck.
Work vehicle #2: A man who appeared to work as an electrician, driving a company truck, made frequent visits to the home -- sometimes more than once a day.
We also observed the two men who lived in the house, leave on bicycles, go down the street, and then return a short time later. The Arguellas' allege the men were meeting people at the end of the street to sell drugs.
“We had neighbors who found needles in their yards down here at this house,” said Jose Arguellas pointing to a house seen on one of his surveillance cameras down the street from his.
“They’re dealing not just hear, they’re going to the road behind us to the corner. They’re all over this neighborhood,” described Marci Arguellas. “It’s gotten to the point, my kids live up north and I have eight grandkids, and they won’t even come because of the stuff next door. They won’t come and visit me. They’re scared.”
When I-TEAM called the Sheriff’s Office to find out what it was doing to stop what the Arguellas described as constant drug dealing right next door, they said they did know about it. Within weeks of our calls, we watched SWAT roll into the Arguellas’ neighborhood and raid the neighboring home they had been documenting and fearing for months.
Two large SWAT trucks with nearly two dozen armed officers dressed in tactical gear were holding onto the outside of the SWAT trucks as they drove down the street and stopped in front of the home. The rare, exclusive video obtained by the I-TEAM shows the officers swarming the house from all sides.
Within minutes, a woman and two men were arrested.
Iris Gresdow, the 81-year-old homeowner, was charged with one count of: keeper of a place where controlled substances are illegally kept.
Gresdow's son, 60-year-old Duane Isaacs, was charged with marijuana possession. He has since pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two days in the Duval County jail. He has previously served a seven-month sentence for selling cocaine in 2000.
The third arrest was 61-year-old John Benish. He was charged with possession of heroin and possession of a controlled substance. He also has a prior drug conviction -- released from prison in 2016 after serving 13 months for selling heroin.
Gresdow and Isaacs have returned to the home, but the Arguellas’ said they do hope the drug dealing has finally come to an end.
“We want to thank the Jacksonville Sheriff’s department, all the officers and the I-TEAM. If it had not been for the I-TEAM, none of this would have happened,” said Marci. “What we did was for the whole neighborhood, not just for us, for the whole neighborhood.”
We should mention, we were concerned about possible retaliation against Marci and Jose for publicly revealing their calls to police and the I-TEAM, but both were adamant about telling their story with the hopes it would put an end to the illegal activity.
If you suspect drugs are being dealt in your neighborhood, contact law enforcement where you live:
Alachua County Sheriff’s Office
Baker County Sheriff’s Office
Bradford County Sheriff’s Office
Clay County Sheriff’s Office
Columbia County Sheriff’s Office
Flagler County Sheriff’s Office
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
Nassau County Sheriff’s Office
904-255-5174 | 904-548-4009 | Toll Free: 855-725-2630
Putnam County Sheriff’s Office
St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office
Union County Sheriff’s Office