- May 07
MPD Search Warrant & Arrest Shuts Down High Street Drug House
The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the initiation of another case under the city’s “Drug House Ordinance” for a rental property at 118 S. High Street. Police Chief Maury Richards appeared before Martinsburg Chief Magistrate Ella Buckner to obtain an Order of Abatement to address the illegal drug activity documented at that location.
The latest Drug House Ordinance action was part of an on-going MPD investigation responding to citizen complaints about drug-dealing in the neighborhood that eventually led police to the High Street property. On April 20th, the police action resulted in a search warrant, drug seizure, and arrest by the Martinsburg Police. Officers arrested the tenant, Edward Singhas, who was charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Suboxone. During a search of the residence, officers recovered 4.5 grams of powder cocaine, 4.5 grams of crack cocaine, a bottle of loose suboxone strips, a digital scale, and drug packaging materials. MPD officers also seized $953 in suspected drug money and two vehicles identified as part of the illegal drug-selling operation.
Corporal Justin Harper had teamed up with MPD Canine Unit Officer Ryan Fritz in conducting the initial investigation and obtained the search warrant. After making a threat assessment of the situation it was determined that entry to the residence should be executed by MPD’s Special Response Team. SRT gained entry without incident and once inside, Harper, Fritz, police canine Atlas, and other officers conducted a thorough search. Canine Atlas alerted on a quantity of hidden drugs which officers were able to quickly recover.
Deputy Chief George Swartwood stated that the latest successful MPD operation is, “an outstanding example of teamwork between concerned citizens, our Patrol and Canine Units, MPD Detectives, and Special Response Team that solved a serious drug problem on South High Street.”
The High Street property is the 25th Drug House shut down by MPD under the city’s innovative drug fighting tool. Calls-for-service records show that since the date of final disposition of the previous 24 Drug Ordinance cases, there have been zero complaints of drug-selling activity at any of these locations. Total calls-for-service at those locations were reduced by more than 90%. During the 12 months prior to MPD’s search warrant and arrest at 118 S. High Street, there were 12 calls for police service. Commenting upon the impact of the city’s municipal regulation, Chief Richards stated, “The Drug House Ordinance has proven absolutely effective in shutting down drug-selling operations all across Martinsburg, improving the quality of life for decent families, and maximizing police resources. We’re going to keep locking up drug dealers and running them out of our community, one house at a time.”
Hendry Barlow of Shepherdstown is the owner of the latest property found to be in violation of the Drug House Ordinance. Chief Richards has been notified by the owner that legal action will be taken to evict the tenant. Barlow is scheduled to appear before Municipal Judge Dale Buck on June 27, 2018 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 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.