MPD Shuts Down 24th Drug House—Seizing $151K in Cocaine

  • MPD Shuts Down 24th Drug House—Seizing $151K in Cocaine

    MPD Shuts Down 24th Drug House—Seizing $151K in Cocaine

    The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the initiation of another case under the city’s “Drug House Ordinance” for a rental property at 2051 Harris Way in the Martins Landing apartment complex.   Police Chief Maury Richards appeared before Martinsburg Chief Magistrate Ella Buckner to obtain an Order of Abatement to address illegal drug activity for Apartment 424 at this location, increasing the total number of shut down drug houses in the City to 24.  The latest Drug House Ordinance action resulted from Monday’s search warrant and major drug seizure by the Martinsburg Police Department that recovered a quantity of cocaine worth an estimated street value of $151,600.

    On April 9, 2018, out-of-state bail bondsmen went to the Harris Way apartment attempting to locate a criminal fugitive.  After initially being denied entry to the residence, they obtained a key from property management and returned to find the apartment unoccupied.  During their search for the wanted criminal, the bondsmen observed what appeared to be illegal drugs in plain view inside the apartment and called MPD.  Patrolman Brian Jarvis responded and observed a large white substance in the form of a brick on top of the kitchen oven.  Officer Jarvis was immediately backed up by Corporal Eric Neely and Patrolman Marc Loretta.  Corporal Neely secured the residence while Jarvis returned to the station where he teamed up with MPD Canine Unit Patrolman Ryan Fritz to obtain a search warrant.

    During the subsequent search of the apartment, the MPD officers observed that the residence was being used for the manufacture of crack cocaine.  Their thorough search resulted in the recovery of 735 grams of powder cocaine, with an estimated street value of $147,000; 23.25 grams of crack cocaine, with an estimated street value of $4,600; $466 in suspect drug money; a digital scale; and various pieces of equipment and materials used in the processing of crack cocaine.  Arrest warrants have been issued for the apartment’s tenant, Jazzlyn Malloy, for Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Crack Cocaine.

    Describing the drug seizure as “very significant.” Deputy Chief George Swartwood praised the efforts of MPD officers Jarvis, Neely, Loretta, and Fritz.  “Their quick response, backup, and teamwork were simply outstanding.  This is one of the biggest drug seizures we’ve seen in a long time,” stated Swartwood.

    The Martins Landing property is owned by the Martinsburg Multi-Family Partnership based in Altmonte Springs, Florida and operated by a local property manager.  On Tuesday, Chief Richards notified the local manager, Ms. Donnie Ventura, that the owner is in violation of the City’s Drug House Ordinance. He was extremely pleased by her positive response and cooperation.  “Martinsburg has zero tolerance for drug dealers,” Richards stated.  “One of MPD’s goals is to work together with responsible landlords to help clean up drug houses in our neighborhoods.  Ms. Ventura took this situation very seriously and stepped up immediately to help solve the problem,” he added.  The owner’s agent is scheduled to appear before Municipal Judge Dale Buck on May 23, 2018 to provide evidence that they have complied with the Chief Magistrate’s order to clean up the drug problems on the property and prevent it from recurring in the future.

    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 drug problem.  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.