Police on Sept. 25 raided the house at 2220 Q Street NW, near three embassies and a church with a day-care center, and according to court records seized nearly 25 pounds of marijuana, $16,500 in cash and hundreds of smoking devices and marijuana-infused candies.
Authorities said they also found “menus” and “ledgers” listing dates and sales of suspected drugs. The police action was first reported by Fox-5. Two men who were inside the home at the time were arrested.
The raid came four years after the last owner, Douglas Jefferies, 52, settled a lawsuit filed by D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine over the Airbnb-marketed “Celebrity House Hunter Mansion” and agreed to stop all business activity, including concerts that included rapper Ja Rule, weddings and parties.
At the time, Racine’s spokesman called the house “a real headache” and “a threat to public safety.” The house had not been licensed for large-scale events, and Racine’s office said police had been called to the address more than 100 times.
The house was listed on Airbnb even after the settlement with Racine, though with a warning it was “not for events.” The price dropped from $1,200 to $900 a night. Property records show the home with five bedrooms and five bathrooms went into foreclosure in July 2019.
David R. Bender, chairman of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for that area, said there had not been large parties at the house since the settlement. But he remained concerned about the allegations of drug dealing.
Of the police activity, Bender said: “I think the whole neighborhood is delighted with the news. It would be good to close it down.”
Court documents say police had been investigating alleged pop-up marijuana parties at the house since the summer of 2018. Police said the events were advertised on sites such as Instagram under the name HonestHerbsDC and led customers through a series of texts and emails to learn the precise address. In once instance, police said customers were directed to another house, then led to a back entrance at 2220 Q Street that could be reached only by walking through a church parking lot.
According to a search warrant affidavit, an undercover police officer attended an event Sept. 17 and paid $60 for suspected marijuana. The officer wrote he met a man from Australia who billed himself as a professional marijuana consultant and was promoting his own strain, called “Outback Smokehouse.”
Police raided the house Sept. 25. John Scripps Sweeney, 51, and Nabil Yazbeck, 20, were each charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Sweeney and Yazbeck were freed pending hearings in D.C. Superior Court on Oct. 15. Their attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.
Sweeney told police he lives at the home, and Yazbeck said he lives in Virginia but visits the Q Street address every day.
Jefferies was not at the house when police showed up last week, court records show, and it is not clear whether he has any connection to the men or the house. He declined to comment.