MPD Uses Drug House Ordinance to Follow Up on Major Heroin & Cocaine Bust

  • MPD Uses Drug House Ordinance to Follow Up on Major Heroin & Cocaine Bust

    MPD Uses Drug House Ordinance to Follow Up on Major Heroin & Cocaine Bust

    The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the initiation of another case under the city’s “Drug House Ordinance” for the rental property at 311 ½ W. King Street.  Police Chief Maury Richards appeared before the city’s Chief Magistrate to obtain an Order of Abatement to address the illegal drug activity at the property owned by Mr. William H. Brown III of Washington, DC.

    This latest police action follows up on the June 26, 2017 MPD search warrant that resulted in a major seizure of 261 grams of heroin, 84 grams of crack cocaine, and $4,000 in suspected drug money from the residence.  The tenants, Charles Leroy Palmer III and Courtney Guess, have been arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin and crack cocaine.  The search warrant and arrests were led by MPD Detective Sergeant Adam Albaugh and Patrolman Marc Loretta.

    The successful MPD drug bust was the result of cooperation with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO).  The coordinated law enforcement effort started on Sunday June 25, 2017 when JCSO Deputy G.W. Kilmer conducted a traffic stop on Charles Town Road at Route 480. The driver of the vehicle, Charles Leroy Palmer III of Martinsburg, was found to be in possession of 31 grams of heroin and $1,200 in cash.  Deputy Kilmer’s investigation resulted in the information that resulted in MPD’s major drug seizure and arrests.  The estimated street value of all drugs seized from both the traffic stop and search warrant totaled $75,000.

    MPD Deputy Chief George Swartwood stressed the importance of cooperation between all law enforcement in fighting illegal drugs.  “Teamwork is what it’s all about,” declared MPD Deputy Chief George Swartwood.  “MPD is a partner with every police and sheriff’s department throughout the Eastern Panhandle.  When we work together, there’s no place that drug dealers can hide,” the Deputy Chief stated.

    “The Drug House Ordinance is a powerful tool that is helping clean up the drug problem in Martinsburg,” stated Chief Maury Richards.  “The decent citizens of our town deserve to live in neighborhoods without drug houses or a drug dealer on the corner and we’re going to make sure it happens,” Richards added.

    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 Order of Abatement announced today contains compliance stipulations including:  evicting the 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.”

    Mr. Brown has been ordered to appear on September 19, 2017 before the Municipal Court of the City of Martinsburg to provide evidence that he has complied with the Chief Magistrate’s order to clean up the drug problem on his property and prevent it recurring in the future.

    “MPD will work with any owner or landlord who wants to stop illegal drug activity on their property.  We expect them to be responsible and act as good neighbors but when they are in violation of our drug house ordinance, they will be held strictly accountable,” stated Chief Richards.