MPD Traffic Stop and Investigation Leads to Shutting Down Drug Growing House

  • MPD Traffic Stop and Investigation Leads to Shutting Down Drug Growing House

    MPD Traffic Stop and Investigation Leads to Shutting Down Drug Growing House

    The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the initiation of another case under the city’s “Drug House Ordinance” for the rental property at 330 S. Rosemont Avenue.  Police Chief Maury Richards appeared today before Martinsburg Chief Magistrate Ella Buckner to obtain an Order of Abatement to address the illegal drug activity documented at the location.  The owners of the Rosemont Avenue property have been identified as Paul and Nancy Gray of Charles Town and are  found to be in violation of the Drug House Ordinance.

    The latest police enforcement action originated from a traffic stop conducted by MPD Patrolman Roderick Holloway on Saturday, August 11th for an expired registration.  The car was being driven by Ms. Ariel Decheubel who was accompanied by a passenger, James Boswell.  Decheubel is the listed tenant of the Rosemont Avenue property and Boswell is a co-resident.

    Officer Holloway approached the vehicle and immediately detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the car.  The officer’s subsequent investigation and search of the vehicle led to the recovery of 1.4 grams of marijuana, 29.8 grams of marijuana wax, ½ gram of heroin, illegal drug paraphernalia, and $387 of suspected drug-money.  The estimated street value of the seized drugs totaled more than $1,500.

    Patrolman Holloway’s skillful interrogation of the subjects resulted in further information of an on-going drug growing and selling operation coming out of the 330 S. Rosemont Avenue rental property.  Based on this new information, Holloway obtained a search warrant for the house which he along with fellow MPD officers Lieutenant Scott Funkhouser, Corporals Andrew Garcia and Justin Harper, and Patrolman Aaron Miller executed later that night.

    Upon making entry into the house, the officers discovered a four-foot tall marijuana plant, lights and lamps used for indoor marijuana growing, marijuana seeds, a digital scale, and 39.43 grams of the synthetic hallucinogen called bath salts.  The quantity of recovered bath salts has an estimated street value of $6,000.

    Lieutenant Scott Funkhouser, Holloway’s Shift Commander, praised the initiative and effectiveness of Officer Holloway and his team.  “Roderick demonstrated outstanding initiative in making the initial traffic stop, conducted a skillful investigation, and organized a successful follow-up.  It was an excellent example of a determined team effort with a great result.  Our officers were able to make two felony arrests, get a lot of dangerous drugs off the street, and shut down another drug house,” Funkhouser stated.

    Nancy and Paul Gray are scheduled to appear before Municipal Judge Dale Buck on September 26, 2018 to provide evidence that they have complied with the Chief Magistrate’s order to clean up the drug problem on their property and prevent it from recurring in the future.  Written notification has been sent to the owners.

    The Rosemont Avenue rental property is the 32nd Drug House shut down by MPD under the City’s innovative drug fighting tool.  The Drug House Ordinance has proved successful in not only shutting down drug-selling operations, but also in keeping problems from recurring at those locations.  Calls-for-service records show that since the date of final disposition of the previous 31 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%.                

    The Martinsburg Drug House Ordinance applies to owners of both rental and owner-occupied property.  Huntington, Parkersburg, Clarksburg, and Fairmont, 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.