A La Puente house with two jail cells in the back and caves underneath was scheduled to be demolished by the county Thursday after officials deemed it was uninhabitable and took control of the property, authorities said.
Sheriff's investigators looked into whether the home was used as a stash house for illegal immigrants but could not come up with much evidence to that end, Deputy Joe Ochoa told LA Weekly.
The residence at 17446 Renault St. came to the attention of authorities in 2008. According to a sheriff's statement:
The property had been a haven for gang members and narcotic users to congregate. This property was a blight for the community and a drain on department resources. An inspection of the property in February, 2008 revealed numerous underground tunnels causing the Department of Public Works to deem the property uninhabitable.
“We tried to follow up on human trafficking but we could not find any victims,” Ochoa said. “That's the only reason we would think there would be cells in the back — to detain someone. They had concrete floors, walls and ceilings that were rebar-reinforced.”
He described doors to the rooms as made of “heavy steel.”
It appeared, Ochoa said, that someone had lived in the basement as well.