By 8 a.m. yesterday the only thing left of a Bacontown drug den and whorehouse was a pile of rubble.
Demolition crews razed the house at 3519 Spring Road, ending more than a decade of complaints about drug trafficking and prostitution from neighborhoods.
"We are glad that after all these years of having problems with drugs and prostitution, the house was finally demolished," said Audrey Garnett, president of the Bacontown Civic Association. "Everyone worked really hard to get this done."
Yesterday's demolition is a first for the county and state under a law that went into effect last July, said Trevor A. Kiessling, assistant county attorney.
The law makes property owners or tenants accountable for drug activities on their property, Kiessling explained. The court has the power under the law to evict owners or tenants, force the sale of the property or as in this case, have it demolished.
"We weren't expecting a demolition," Mr. Kiessling said. "But that probably is the best solution to the problem."
The owners of the house, David Brown, 70, and his sister Corrine Outlaw Brown, 80, were charged under the law with the civil violation of maintaining a common nuisance, he said. They settled the charges out of court in November and agreed to vacate the property and pay $2,190 for the house to be demolished, Mr. Kiessling said.
As part of the settlement, the land will be sold to a county-approved buyer, he added.
Narcotics investigators began working in Bacontown, making drug buys and gathering evidence for arrest warrants, after receiving 1,300 calls for service in the neighborhood during the past two years -- 166 of them complaints of drug trafficking.
Of the 166 drug calls, 40 specifically mentioned the house at 3519 Spring Road, said Officer V. Richard Molloy, a police spokesman.
Ms. Garnett, who has lived in the neighborhood off Whiskey Bottom Road for 16 years, said for at least 10 of those years, the house was a nuisance.
"It began in the early '80s," she said. "You had drug trafficking in [Bacontown] park all day and then at night in that house."
County officials closed down the 10-acre park on Spring Road in the early 1980s, but the drug dealers moved to the house.
"Closing down the park helped because it confined the problem to one area," Ms. Garnett said.
Last October, county police threw a party at a hotel at Baltimore-Washington International airport and invited several alleged prostitutes and drug dealers who used the area as home base.
Undercover detectives arrived in a limousine to pick up the guests -- two suspected prostitutes and two accused drug dealers -- from the Spring Road home. The guests were served arrest warrants as party favors.
Drug charges against several members of the Brown family are still pending, Mr. Kiessling said.