MPD SHUTS DOWN 20th DRUG HOUSE WITH ARREST FOR DRUGS & ILLEGAL GUN

  • MPD SHUTS DOWN 20th DRUG HOUSE WITH ARREST FOR DRUGS & ILLEGAL GUN

    MPD SHUTS DOWN 20th DRUG HOUSE WITH ARREST FOR DRUGS & ILLEGAL GUN

    The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the initiation the first case in 2018 under the city’s “Drug House” ordinance, bringing the total to 20 problem properties that have been cleaned up under the City’s drug-fighting tool.

    Earlier today, Police Chief Maury Richards appeared before Martinsburg Chief Magistrate Ella Buckner to obtain an Order of Abatement to address illegal drug activity at 224 North Spring Street.  Phina Pek of Manassas, Virginia is the owner of the latest property found to be in violation of the Drug House Ordinance.  The ordinance was triggered after serious drug-related criminal violations were substantiated by the police at the rental property including the recovery of large quantities of heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl; digital scales used to weigh the drugs; and an illegally possessed firearm.

    On February 2, 2018, MPD officers Detective Sergeant Adam Albaugh, Lieutenant Scott Doyle, and Detective Jon Smith assisted the United States Marshals Mountain State Fugitive Task Force in taking into custody a wanted offender, Christian Blunt, at the Spring Street residence.  Blunt had been wanted for violating the conditions of his bond in a pending federal criminal case.

    During the course of the arrest, police observed evidence of illegal drug activity in the duplex apartment.  Sergeant Albaugh, Lieutenant Doyle, Detective Smith, and other Fugitive Task Force officers obtained consent to conduct a search of the residence and recovered 17 grams of heroin, 17 grams of cocaine, 6 grams of fentanyl, and 2 grams of marijuana.  Officers also recovered an AK47 pistol with a drum magazine and 69 rounds of ammunition.  As a convicted felon, Blunt is prohibited by law to possess firearms.  Drug and weapon charges for Blunt are pending.

    Martinsburg Chief Maury Richards and Deputy Chief George Swartwood praised the work of both Task Force members and MPD officers in obtaining the evidence and arrest that closed down the latest drug house.

    “Our Department has a great partnership with the U.S. Marshals Mountain State Fugitive Task Force,” stated Swartwood.  “The professionalism and observation by everyone involved was outstanding and quickly resulted in another drug house being shut down,” he added.  Chief Richards emphasized that, “The Martinsburg Police Department has a zero-tolerance policy for drug dealing and drug houses.  If you sell this poison in our community, we’re locking you up.  If you run a drug house in our community, we’re shutting you down.”

    A hearing date in for the most recent Drug House Ordinance violation has been set for the defendant landlord in Martinsburg Municipal Court.  A notification has been sent to Phina Pek that she is scheduled to appear before Municipal Judge Dale Buck on February 16, 2018.

    MPD has successfully shut down 20 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.  In addition to ending the immediate problem, Orders of Abatement also contain compliance stipulations including other actions to prevent the recurrence of illegal drug activity.  The Martinsburg Drug House Ordinance applies to owners of both rental and owner-occupied property.  Huntington, Parkersburg, and Clarksburg, West Virginia have enacted similar drug house ordinances based on Martinsburg’s to help fight the heroin problem.