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DIGGING DEEPER: Former drug dealing thrift shop has new owner

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TUCSON (KVOA) - A thrift shop, which was once a front for selling illegal drugs, has gone to the dogs, literally.

More than a year ago, the Digging Deeper team shared a report about a business across the street from Winterhaven in midtown.

In the Fall of 2019, a colorful building located on Fort Lowell Road near Country Club had a bit of a checkered past. Nearby business owners and residents complained to police about the suspicious activity going on in their neighborhood.

Tucson Police Department and the Counter Narcotics Alliance multi-agency drug task force shut down the thrift store after a four-month-long investigation.

Undercover officers purchased drugs laced with fentanyl. Four people were arrested. The officers seized cash, weapons and cars.

Fast forward to 2021.

The new owner is Joshua Kindred of the facility where the thrift shop was once located.  He is a dog groomer.

"They (former tenants) just didn't care for the building at all," Kindred said. "They didn't care for the neighborhood."  

For Kindred, it is just the opposite. Growing up in Tucson, he only has wonderful memories of Winterhaven and was devastated when one of his clients told him about the building's past tenants.

"She actually looked up the address and saw the old report. She kind of joked about it, she still came in," he said. "It did give me the thought, it is turning away a couple of people you know. And so, I just wanted to get it out there that we're doing better here. We're not what it used to be."

He wanted people to know he is an honest businessman who wants to do good for his community. This is his second location.  The other one is located at Camino Seco Pet Clinic.

Besides dog grooming at the Fort Lowell location, he plans to run a nonprofit dog rescue in the space next door.

"I just want to help dogs in a way of not putting them down," he said. "I want to re-rescue them, give them air cuts, get them vet care, let them live long lives."

He plans on using money from the $10 nail trims he charges clients to start the nonprofit.

Tim Mellott is the manager at Artistry In Glass next door. He said the new business is a definite improvement over the drug dealing thrift shop.

He said the previous tenants scared off the dance studio cliental that was once there.

"We had mailboxes getting damaged. We had had people loitering," he said. "We were chasing the riff-raff out."

But now that the business has gone to the dogs, he said they do not have to do that anymore.

After every dog is groomed, the dogs are given doggie donut treats.  They are baked locally and the dogs really like them.

For more information, visit sublimerescue.com or call 520-789-9502   

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Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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