Neighbors stunned after marijuana and $20,000 seized in police raid

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A neighborhood stunned was after a big marijuana bust right down the street from one of St. Louis's top schools.

The bust netted more than 10lbs of marijuana and more than $20,000 cash, police said. Depending on the quality, the marijuana could have a street value from $25,000 - $50,000.

A police tactical broke the front door glass and entered the home in the 4900 block of Potomac in South St. Louis, April 7th, neighbors said.

Sharon Page, who runs a home day care across the street, said police carried coolers and boxes out of the house. She feared the worst.

“When you see stuff like that your mind goes all over the place. You want to look out not only for the neighborhood, you want to look out for your safety, too,” she said.

Court documents give this account:

Police found close to 7 pounds of marijuana plus 5 pounds of unspecified items containing THC, the drug component of marijuana, along with $11,000; Shelly Buchanan, 37, was at home during the raid; her boyfriend, John Viviano, 52, arrived during the search with the smell of marijuana coming from his vehicle; police found 3 more pounds of marijuana in the vehicle plus another $12,000.

“It is incredibly surprising you know. It’s like the last thing I would have expected there,” said neighbor, Michael Anderegg.

The house is just down the street from Kennard Elementary School, regarded as perhaps the best public school in St. Louis.

Though the bust involved only marijuana, not drugs like meth or heroin which are considered to be much more dangerous, neighbors had little empathy.

“It’s still against the law. There’s still a problem with that. If it’s not legal, I don’t think it should be around especially with the school there. Any kind of illicit behavior like that is just going to cause a problem,” Anderegg said.

Viano and Buchanan were released after their initial arrests pending formal charges.

Those charges were just filed Friday. Both remained at large, facing two counts each of possession/distribution of a controlled substance.

Bond was set at $10,000 cash only for both.