Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Smith: the stash house next door

Brick: • n. 1 a kilogram bundle of pot; 2 masonry blocks (also barrier to violence tied to dealing def. 1); 3 (hit the bricks) get active, or to leave; • v. (goldbrick) ignore duty

I have guns enough to withstand a rampaging herd of buffalo, maybe even fight off a gang of cattle rustlers, but if a carload of Colombians - their heads full of meth and their AR-15s full of armor-piercing ammo - kicks in my front door because their computer software got my address mixed up with the house next door, which is six miles away, I'm toast.

I have guns enough to withstand a rampaging herd of buffalo, maybe even fight off a gang of cattle rustlers, but if a carload of Colombians - their heads full of meth and their AR-15s full of armor-piercing ammo - kicks in my front door because their computer software got my address mixed up with the house next door, which is six miles away, I'm toast.

First you need to know what a brick is.

There is confusion over definitions because our own Tucson Police Department has been using two meanings of the word.

In a recent Tucson Citizen story by Ryn Gargulinski, a TPD sergeant cited masonry as a preferred building material if one lives next to a stash house.

“The only thing that can stop that ammunition is a brick,” said Sgt. Mark Robinson, anent brick walls as a defense against high-powered rounds from weapons used by drug dealers trying to invade a stash house full of marijuana.

And how is marijuana in those stash houses packaged?

In bricks. What drug dealers call the 2.2-pound (1 kilogram), plastic-wrapped bundles of pot.

So try to keep your terminology straight.

Say you’re starting a Neighborhood Watch to keep your barrio safe from Tucson’s alarming influx of marijuana in transit to far out destinations.

Dealers drop off the product in local stash houses until East Coast demand calls for shipment.

If you try to lighten up your presentation by using the example of the “Three Little Pigs,” bear in mind that a house made of bricks could be construed either – or both – of two ways.

Seriously though, as Ms. Gargulinski pointed out, with Tucson becoming a major drop-off point for Mexican drug cartels, many of which are now allied with Colombian drug runners, law-abiding citizens who have lived in the same neighborhood for decades may face a danger they aren’t ready to handle.

You can study for your concealed-carry permit and train to use your .45 automatic Colt pistol, but if the drug dealers wrongly hit your front door instead of the correct one – out of the 85 identical floor plans in your subdivision – they may be armed with the same guns and grenades as the Israeli army. What is worse, they are prepared to pull the trigger.

You aren’t. Neither am I. I have guns enough to withstand a rampaging herd of buffalo, maybe even fight off a gang of cattle rustlers, but if a carload of Colombians – their heads full of meth and their AR-15s full of armor-piercing ammo – kicks in my front door because their computer software got my address mixed up with the house next door, which is six miles away, I’m toast.

The best advice the police have for our self-protection is Neighborhood Watch programs.

So how about we hit the bricks (as in “take a walk”) and go Christmas caroling through the neighborhood? Sing a few bars of “Silent Night” to every one of the front doors whose new owners we haven’t met?

If a grumpy old Scrooge opens the door with a snarl on his lips, a surplus AK-47 on his shoulder and a living room stacked floor to ceiling with the 2.2-pound bricks we discussed earlier, take your leave, get on your cell phone and dial 911.

But what if nobody in the neighborhood wants to go caroling? What if nobody wants to start a Neighborhood Watch? What if you have a neighbor who already shows signs of illegal activity, say a backyard full of Rottweilers and pit bulls and cars full of strangers dropping by in the wee hours?

I recommend you sleep on the opposite side of the house, at least until you can put a wall of bricks between you and the drug dealers, and alert the police as to your rational and reasonable suspicions.

If you fear reprisal, ask police what they recommend to keep you safe from the bad guys.

It’s a hell of a state of affairs when the good guys are overrun by the bad. Sometimes your only real safety is in numbers.

Start a Neighborhood Watch. Keep your own arms safely at hand. And know how and when to use them.

ARNIE BERMUDEZ/Tucson Citizen

Jeff understands how trouble can find you when you’ve done nothing to invite it to visit. Reach him at (520) 455-5667 or jeffyboy@wildblue.net.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

Search site | Terms of service