Remember that massive marijuana bust where 60 area homes were raided?
Well, one family just unknowingly moved into one home in Cypress that was an alleged drug grow house. The family says at first walk through the home looks beautiful but they say once they were settling in and unpacking boxes they could see mold is everywhere.
"They just painted over it," says Christy Edgel. "In this room can you tell they only painted the edges of the room. They didn't paint the whole wall. What were they covering up?"
The family of six moved to Houston from Utah after Mr. Edgel lost his job. They just moved into the 4,000 square foot rental home 12 days ago. Edgel says almost immediately everyone in the family became ill.
"My eyes were burning. My throat was burning. My chest felt heavy. Then I became very congested. My youngest daughter started getting green goop in her eyes and she would cough until she threw up," explains Edgel.
What appears to be mold can be seen on several areas on the wall, the edge of the carpet and on a vent cover in the baby girl's bedroom closet.
"My two year old slept in this room and she's the one who's the sickest," says Edgel.
Neighbors watched in August when drug enforcement agents brought 400 marijuana plants out of the house. The last renters didn't live here but were allegedly using the home as a greenhouse to grow marijuana. Investigators say it isn't abnormal to find mold in a house used for this purpose because of all the watering and the heat from the lamps causing extreme humidity. In fact, one neighbor says the day of the bust a police officer told him "(The owner) is going to have to take all the sheetrock out. Take all the carpet out, all the duct work out to make it habitable again," says neighbor Mark Prause. "When they were cleaning the house I didn't see them replace the sheetrock and I saw a carpet cleaning truck. They didn't even replace the carpet and I was like hmmmm that might be a problem," adds Prause.
The Edgel family is now in a brand new city and living apart. The two oldest boys are with one friend. The rest of the family is staying with someone else. "Our income has been cut almost in half. Every penny we have was spent moving here. Our hands are really tied as to where we go from here. As of last night the owner is willing to give us our deposit back, all of our rent back and they conducted the air quality test yesterday," says Edgel. The results of the test are due back tomorrow. The family is also hoping for reimbursement of moving expenses. While Edgel says she's extremely worried about the health of her family, she is also concerned about irreplaceable belongings being contaminated by mold spores. "That piano is my grandmother's. It's a 1936 Wurlitzer. We all play the piano. So it's a big deal to me. I inherited it from her last year when she died," explains Edgel.
According to the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) under the law sellers have to reveal if a house was used to manufacture methamphetamine. However, a TREC spokesperson says nowhere in the law does it specify landlords or sellers have to disclose if a home was used as a marijuana grow house.