MPD Moves To Shut Down Four More Drug Houses With Ordinance—Total Hits 17

  • MPD Moves To Shut Down Four More Drug Houses With Ordinance—Total Hits 17

    MPD Moves To Shut Down Four More Drug Houses With Ordinance—Total Hits 17

    The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the initiation of four more cases under the city’s “Drug House” ordinance, bringing the total to 17 problem properties that have been cleaned up under the City’s drug-fighting tool. The latest action is the direct result of the 10 recent MPD drug-dealing investigations and arrests from Phase V of Operation Spring Cleaning. “Spring Cleaning” is an on-going MPD enforcement initiative that aggressively targets street-level drug dealers in Martinsburg.

    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: 723 S. Raleigh Street, 601 North Queen Street, 423 Virginia Avenue, and 703 Porter Avenue. The listed owners of the properties that were found to be in violation of the Drug House ordinance are: Kathy Grimm, owner of 723 S. Raleigh Street; Joseph Mareck, owner of 601 N. Queen Street; Mickey Duncan, owner of 423 Virginia Avenue; and Catherine Dodson, manager of Ambrose Towers at 703 Porter Avenue. The Drug House Ordinance was triggered after serious drug-related criminal violations were substantiated at each property by MPD officers.

    The drug-related offenses documented by the police at these residences were serious. For the drug-related activity at 723 S. Raleigh Street, Kimberly Kelley, Timothy Kelley, Sally Ann Morett, and Sean Stoneburner were arrested and charged with Delivery of Heroin within 1,000 feet of a School.

    A felony arrest warrant for Distribution of Heroin and Cocaine has been obtained for Asia Jackson for the illegal activity at 601N. Queen Street. Michal Graham was arrested for Distribution of Crack Cocaine from 423 Virginia Avenue. For Distribution of Heroin at 703 Porter Avenue, MPD arrested and charged the tenant, Jeannie Shepherd, and her invitee, Linnie Dean.   An arrest warrant Distribution of Heroin has also been obtained for James Beck.

    Chief Richards confirmed that for the properties at 703 Porter Avenue and 423 Virginia Avenue, the owners have moved with lightning speed to address and eliminate the problems. Both have immediately brought their buildings into compliance by already starting the eviction process to remove

    the problem tenants and taking steps to ensure that no further illegal drug-related activity occurs in the future. The MPD Chief recognized Catherine Dodson and Mickey Duncan for their strong support and full cooperation. “Working together to clean up drug-dealing in Martinsburg and improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods is what the Drug House Ordinance is all about. This type of cooperation and partnership is what we need,” stated Richards. Deputy Chief George Swartwood stated that, “from the moment they knew that there was a problem, Cathy and Mickey stepped up to help solve it. Their efforts were outstanding. We look forward to continue working together as partners in the future.”

    Cathy Dodson, Executive Director of the Martinsburg Housing Authority, expressed her appreciation for the latest police initiative. “I want to thank the Martinsburg Police Department for conducting the investigation that discovered this illegal drug activity. We have a great relationship with MPD,” Dodson said. “The Housing Authority has a zero-tolerance policy on illegal drugs and we conduct extensive background checks on potential tenants. Sometimes the wrong people slip through and enforcement action is needed to correct the problem. Our partnership with the police is continuing to build trust and making our residents safer,” she added.

    Chief Richards has already asked Martinsburg City Attorney Floyd “Kin” Sayre to appear this week before Municipal Judge Dale Buck to request dismissal of the two cases. Hearings for the cases on the Raleigh and Queen Street properties have been scheduled for January 3rd in Martinsburg Municipal Court.  MPD has successfully shut down 17 drug houses with Martinsburg’s innovative ordinance.

    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. Orders of Abatement 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.