MPD Identifies Four Drug Houses—Takes Action Under City Ordinance

  • MPD Identifies Four Drug Houses—Takes Action Under City Ordinance

    MPD Identifies Four Drug Houses—Takes Action Under City Ordinance

    The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the initiation of four more cases under the city’s “Drug House” ordinance.  Last Friday, Police Chief Maury Richards appeared before Martinsburg’s Chief Magistrate to obtain Orders of Abatement to address illegal drug activity at the following locations:  301 E. Burke Street, 518 W. Addition Street, 235 Porter Avenue, and 616 N. Second Street.  The listed owners of the properties that were found to be in violation of the Drug House ordinance are:  Carlos Niederhouser, owner of 301 E. Burke Street; Bradley J. Heacock, owner of 518 W. Addition; Vantap Teng, owner of 235 Porter Avenue; and Richard B. Beavers, owner of 616 N. Second Street.  The Drug House Ordinance was triggered after serious drug-related criminal violations were documented by MPD officers at each property.

    “Our patrol officers and detectives did a fantastic job in building the criminal cases and making the arrests that resulted in these four Orders of Abatement,” stated Police Chief Maury Richards.   “Decent citizens are just sick and tired of what heroin is doing to our town and we’re going to do everything we can to clean it up.  The Drug House Ordinance is a powerful tool.  We’re going to hold all property owners accountable under the provisions of the ordinance for illegal drug activity on their property.  Of course we prefer voluntary cooperation, but the days of owners not monitoring or turning a blind eye to illegal activity on their properties are over,” Richards added.

    Documented illegal drug activity was obtained by the Martinsburg Police Department at each location in order to utilize the ordinance.  At 301 E. Burke Street, the police and EMS personnel responded to three separate heroin overdose calls since last December.  Additionally, two persons, Mr. Jeffrey Rayle and Ms. Jacquelyn Betson were arrested separately for possession of heroin at this location.  Rayle and Betson are identified as invitees of Mr. Niederhouser’s tenant, Mr. Denny Ford.

    The ordinance was invoked for illegal drug activity at 518 W. Addition Street after a drug arrest by Martinsburg Police Officers conducting “Operation Spring Cleaning,” MPD’s on-going drug enforcement initiative.  On March 7, 2017, Mr. Tyler Keck was arrested and charged for Distribution of Heroin, a felony offense, on the property and an arrest warrant for Ms. Amber Breeden was obtained for the same offense.  Both Keck and Breeden were identified as invitees of Ms. Kellie Bowers, Mr. Heacock’s tenant.

    Also in March, MPD officers responded to an overdose call at 235 Porter.  The initial police investigation resulted in the obtaining of a search warrant for the premises and the arrest and charging of Ms. Nicole Harcrove for the felony offense of Possession with Intent to Deliver Heroin and Cocaine.  Harcrove is the tenant of Mr. Teng.

    “We’re in this fight to improve our city and on a mission to shut down these drug houses block-by-block,” stated Deputy Chief George Swartwood.  “We expect that all property owners step up and do their job as responsible neighbors,” Swartwood added.

    Martinsburg’s innovative drug house ordinance applies to all property owners, including both rental and privately occupied residences.  For the first time, the ordinance has been utilized on a non-rental property.  One of the Orders of Abatement announced today was for 616 N. Second Street, an owner-occupied property of Mr. Richard B. Beavers.   Also resulting from “Operation Spring Cleaning,” on May 4, 2017, Ms. Theresa Beavers, a family member of the owner and resident, was arrested for Distribution of Heroin from their Second Street home.

    Under the provisions of the Drug House Ordinance, property owners are subject to fines if they fail to take appropriate action to abate the problem after 30 days of notification.  The Orders of Abatement announced today contain compliance stipulations including:  evicting problem tenants, other actions to prevent the recurrence of illegal drug activity, and mandating criminal background checks on future tenants to insure they are “free from convictions for prostitution; illegal gambling; illegal possession, storage, or delivery of or trafficking in controlled substances, or other illegal drug activity.”

    The owners have been notified of the Chief Magistrate’s action and instructed to obtain copies of their abatement orders at the Martinsburg Police Department.   All four defendants have been ordered to appear on August 30, 2017 before the Municipal Court of the City of Martinsburg to provide evidence that they have complied with the Chief Magistrate’s order.