- Aug 02
MPD Shuts Down Two More Drug Houses
The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the initiation of two more cases under the city’s “Drug House” ordinance. Earlier today, Police Chief Maury Richards appeared before Martinsburg’s Chief Magistrate to obtain Orders of Abatement to address illegal drug activity at the following locations: 212 Winchester Avenue and 522 N. High Street. The listed owners of the properties found to be in violation of the Drug House ordinance are Carlos Niederhauser, owner of 212 Winchester and John Orem, owner of 522 N. High Street. The Drug House Ordinance was triggered after serious drug-related criminal violations were documented by MPD officers at each rental property.
“We’re fighting the war on drugs on many fronts and the drug house ordinance is a powerful weapon in our arsenal, stated Chief Richards. “Stopping illegal drug sales from inside residences is absolutely crucial to cleaning up the drug problem in Martinsburg. Through a combination of good old-fashioned police work and our partnership with the community, we’re continuing to identify drug houses and shutting them down,” the MPD Chief added.
Long-term drug investigations and successful search warrants led to documenting illegal drug activity at both locations that resulted in the two new Orders of Abatement. On July 13, 2017 officers of the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force executed a search warrant on Mr. Niederhauser’s Winchester Avenue property, resulting in the recovery of both a quantity of heroin and a firearm and the arrests of two invitees of the tenant. Arrested and charged with distribution of heroin were, Eric Donaldson and Shasta Myers. On July 20, 2017, officers of the Martinsburg Police Department conducted a search warrant on 522 N. High Street. MPD officers recovered quantities of crack cocaine and marijuana. The target of the search warrant, Ryan Richardo Ramney, was an invitee of Mr. Orem’s tenant.
“MPD wants every property owner in Martinsburg to be part of the solution in running drugs out of our town,” said Deputy Chief George Swartwood. “We’re ready to work with any owner who asks for our help but we expect them to step up and do their job as responsible neighbors,” Swartwood added.
Both landlords are being notified of the Chief Magistrate’s action and instructed to obtain copies of their abatement orders at the Martinsburg Police Department. The defendants have been ordered to appear before the Municipal Court of the City of Martinsburg to provide evidence that they have complied with the Chief Magistrate’s order. Niederhauser, who has been previously cited under the drug house ordinance for his property at 301 E. Burke Street, is scheduled to appear to address this latest violation on September 6th. Orem has been ordered to appear in court on October 18th.
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 Martinsburg Drug House Ordinance applies to owners of both rental and owner-occupied property.