Weirdest thing ever...need advice

Last Thursday night I was at a Town Hall meeting when some friends of mine who live around the corner from my Airbnb came in and immediately came over to me and asked if I knew what was happening at my Airbnb house.

Turns out, this quiet, respectable little neighborhood was harboring TWO drug “chop houses” of a major drug cartel and the DEA and FBI were there busting them. One of the houses was two doors north of our Airbnb house, and the other is two doors south of our Airbnb house.

I had a guest staying at the house. I called her immediately to see if she was OK and to offer to put her up somewhere else. She was fine with staying put.

I had new guests arriving on Friday so I kept watching the news and the paper for info on the bust so I could give the facts of the situation to the arriving guests and give them the option to cancel if they didn’t feel safe. Nothing was said about it on the news Thursday evening or in the paper on Friday so Friday around noon my hubby called the Chief of Police (he had the Chief’s private cell phone number).

Here’s the full scoop. This drug cartel was operating out of Dayton Ohio. They had their own trucking company. They made runs to Arizona to pick up the shipments, then brought the drugs back to Dayton and divided them into smaller shipments. The cartel members in our neighborhood were bringing some of the drugs back to our little town and dividing them up into smaller packages for distribution to the street level dealers.

Nothing has been on the news about it yet because, although the operation in out town has been completely shut down and everyone arrested here, they are still shutting down the operation in other Midwest cities. The houses have been thoroughly checked out and remediated. There is no crime scene tape up or anything to show that anything has happened out of the ordinary.

I told the weekend guests and they decided to cancel and I helped them to get a full refund from Airbnb. I got another booking from a previous guest almost immediately that ended up taking the dates I lost to the canceling guests. I told the previous guest about the drug bust and she was ok staying there. This weekend I have new guests arriving. I told them about the drug bust and they are ok with staying.

The neighborhood is a very quiet one with lots of retirees who have lived there for 40-50 years, and a few families with children…but it is mostly retirees. As I understand it, that’s part of the reason the cartel located there…no one would expect to find drugs being handled in a quiet, respectable neighborhood like that one.

Here’s my dilemma. At what point will it be OK to quit disclosing the drug bust to guests? The Chief of Police assured us everyone in the local area had been captured and arrested. I see no signs of the DEA or FBI surveilling the neighborhood (but I didn’t notice anything untoward before either!).

What do y’all think? Has anyone ever encountered anything remotely like this?

If you’ve had the all clear from the chief of police then that’s your cue. I believe drugs are like rats, you’re never that far away.
Interestingly, if your losses had been worse, would your insurance have helped you?


Hi Jess,
Interesting question, about the insurance. I don’t know, but we keep a high deductible of $1000 and our loss so far has been in the neighborhood of $100.

after the initial raid, I’m pretty sure things could instantly quieten down, I’d stop mentioning it now. There may well be the odd forensics van, but it’s not like it’s a ghetto all of a sudden.

There ya go.

Also, everyone is safer now than ever!


Just from a compliance and liability perspective, you should keep all the documentation from the police giving the assurance.

that doesn’t sound right! A police guarantee?

I think you’ve done as much as you need to, and been very reasonable in the process. I wouldn’t mention it anymore.

Although we are in a quiet village, we come under the aegis of the Port of Dover and town on Airbnb, with guests using the Ports or visiting the Castle and White Cliffs at the bottom of our lane. The Port is forever in/on the national news for drug busts, gun running, people smuggling but it doesn’t stop people coming. It has never crossed my mind to contact them.

It was a one-off and I wouldn’t mention it any longer. It’s like playing whack-a-mole…the cartel will pop up somewhere else. I’d be more concerned that they’ll book 6 months or a year from now when folks in your town/neighborhood are no longer on edge and vigilant.

When you first heard, were you concerned that your house may also have been booked? Do you think your place was less attractive to the cartel for some reason?
Some part of me pictures a dealer scrolling through Airbnb listings and passing yours over because you don’t allow “events” or have a security camera.

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You’ve already disclosed more than I would have. I would have asked the guests who were there during the police activity what they needed and that would have been the end of it.


I agree with K9. I also wondered why you had so much detail in your post - clearly the police are keeping this quiet and the chief may not be happy if s/he finds out you’ve posted details online.


Yes, that’s the point the guest who was staying there when it happened made. It was also the point made my the person who had stayed there before who decided to come back.

It was a verbal assurance given over the phone so there’s nothing to keep.

No, I wasn’t at all concerned they might have booked my house. The houses they were staying in had both been sold to them on land contract. For those not familiar with a land contract, it’s where the buyer puts down a hefty cash down payment and the seller provides the financing and holds title to the property until the buyer has made all the payments.

Thanks. I truly don’t think it’s an unsafe neighborhood. My fear, if I don’t say anything, is that they will learn about the drug bust through other means–like one of the neighbors telling them about it, or it finally being in the news–and get upset that they weren’t told. The Chief said it will be on national news once the operation is finished as the largest drug bust ever in our state and the neighboring state…

Ah, apologies. I misread your original post. I think it was on the Airbnb community forums someone posted about their Airbnb being used as a trim house, so I must have conflated the two.

You did really well in taking care of your guests. I hope your neighborhood enjoys some prolonged quiet normalcy!

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Someone posted here about that but the issue was the smell in the house as they live in a weed legal state.


I would say post the scenario but not the location!

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I have had a recent, similar experience, although not as severe. My direct neighbor is a registered sex offender (27 y/o, conviction was about 6 years ago involving a 13 yr old or under), living with his mother and step-father. My across the street neighbors, who I’m fairly close with, witnessed him being cuffed and stuffed three Wednesdays ago. He was returned later that night by the local PD. Nearly a week later, the news release reported on a major area drug bust with 20-25 ppl arrested. I’ve talked with my local PD as I was concerned for my Airbnb business here. I asked for increased presence in the area. They weren’t able to give me a lot of information about the individual, but they did acknowledge the warrant for him. I have chosen no to inform guests, as he is on the “registry” and must report to the local PD on a regular basis. The police could not confirm that this was drug related or not . . . they did say some of those 20 something ppl were NOT involved in the drug ring, as some just had existing warrants, and with the increased manpower for the bust, they were able to take in additional individuals. I don’t think there is any impending danger to myself or my guests, and the PD has asked that I just be vigilant with my surroundings, if I’m concerned, and to report anything out of the ordinary.

I should say that I live in/own my rental home that I offer a spare room and bathroom in, so I’m present when not at work in town. I think since this situation has been dealt with in your area (as far as the bust), and the police are aware, and likely more vigilant about policing your area, I would not continue to inform/worry my future guests.

Unfortunately we can control the environment we rent, but can’t control the outlying area/neighbors. My neighbor’s house/property is not attractive, often littered with trash, old grills, and multiple cars in disrepair, and I feel that the handful of nearly 200 reviews for 4s on location are due to the neighbors, and not my actual location. Luckily most people arriving come from the opposite way and don’t see this house, and do leave 5s.

Yes, this is so true. I have three houses on Airbnb. The one that had the drug bust was the one in the best neighborhood, i.e. no blighted properties, no rowdy neighbors, all the yards mowed and no messes around their properties. The other two houses are in neighborhoods where there are some “issues” unfortunately. This house was the one I was most confident that the neighborhood would not present a problem for anyone!

I think it is a cultural thing, but I am not that sensitive and do not panic when I see police.
And drugs… they are everywhere.

I used to live in a street whith a dealer across the street. Very nice guy, safest place to live for me and my family. He exactly knew who was going in and out of my house. And every time he saw a guy at my door he did not trust, he called me on my phone. (Day or night) :grin:

I would not have told future guests anything, and staying guests only when they ask if I knew what happened.

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