Samuel Oliphant of Scottsdale was kicked out of his luxury apartment last week, days after a hazmat team found the place trashed, toxic, and just plain gross.
Scottsdale Police Department photographs of the interior of Oliphant's former crib, obtained by New Times through a public-records request, reveal a garbage-filled drug den reminiscent of a hoarder's home: a place where a paranoid user of marijuana and other drugs concocted (or attempted to, anyway) distillations or recipes or ... something.
Police first encountered Oliphant's apartment on June 30 after being called to the place by management of the posh Optima Sonoran Village on Camelback Road just west of Scottsdale Fashion Square. They arrested Oliphant for having failed to appear in court in June after pleading guilty in September 2015 to a reckless-driving charge. The hazmat team then secured any dangerous items and seized evidence.
One elaborate, clear-glass or -plastic smoking apparatus — with some kind of red fluid inside — was equipped with a synthetic-vagina attachment, said Sgt. Ben Hoster, spokesman for the Scottsdale PD. Officers believed semen was among the fluids they found amid the detritus of discarded food containers, household chemicals, and half-empty bowls filled with unknown substances.
"It was quite disgusting," Hoster said, describing the scene the responding officers found inside the apartment.
Oliphant might have been trying to cook meth — or possibly not, Hoster said. So far, the only drug found was cannabis.
A meeting is scheduled this week at Sonoran Village with crime-prevention officers who'll attempt to provide more answers.
Residents are upset that the complex allowed that sort of "clientele," Hoster said.
"They have been blowing up," he said.
New Times stopped by the complex on Sunday. A couple of residents said they'd heard of the hazmat incident but didn't know Oliphant. One resident who'd been enjoying one of Optima's two pools said the community meeting was scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. Hearing that a possible drug lab had been found at Sonoran Village, another pool-goer exclaimed, "Whaaaat? Here?"
The location is an eyebrow raiser, to say the least. The glitzy high-rise complex stands out amid Scottsdale's primo shopping and nightlife district along Camelback Road.
"Sonoran Village is a cutting-edge interpretation of its Scottsdale setting," boasts the company's website. "The breathtaking integration of five residential buildings creates an entire luxury community at the gateway to Downtown Scottsdale."
Available units are listed for rents ranging from $1,190 to $4,360 per month.
Management called police on June 30, after maintenance staff noticed that the unit Oliphant was renting was emitting a strong, foul smell and its ventilation system was malfunctioning.
The arrived to find the apartment's fixtures had been covered up. It appeared that the apartment's lone resident (presumably Oliphant) had laid white paper or films of plastic on faucets, cabinet handles, countertops, vents, and other furniture. The bedroom appears relatively clean compared to the rest of the unit. Junk is scattered everywhere — some mundane, some bizarre.
"He's got some mental issues," Hoster said. "Things are out of place. Officers found things covered ... then a water bong with an appendage on it, and a couple of other bongs attached to it."
It's unclear whether the paraphernalia is indicative of a meth lab.
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"There is no guaranteed or sure way of saying this is definitely a meth lab," Hoster said. "It doesn't have to be bottles or beakers or things like that. It can be buckets or boxes."
A report on the incident isn't likely to be available for a few weeks, police records staff told New Times.
Court records show that Oliphant lost a forcible detainer hearing on Thursday, July 7. Besides losing his apartment, he was ordered by McDowell Mountain Justice Court Judge Michael Reagan to pay $2,317.62 in owed rent, $150 in attorney's fees, and $75 in other costs. Online court records show that Oliphant's reckless-driving conviction stems from a May 2014 arrest on suspicion of driving while impaired by drugs. The DUID-related charges were dropped as part of a plea deal.
More photos below: