Traffic Stop and MPD Canine Assist Results in Shutting Down Drug House

  • Traffic Stop and MPD Canine Assist Results in Shutting Down Drug House

    Traffic Stop and MPD Canine Assist Results in Shutting Down Drug House

    The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the initiation of another case under the city’s “Drug House Ordinance” for the rental property at 244 North Queen Street, Apartment 2.  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 owner of the Queen Street property has been identified as Wayne Wolfensberger of Cannas Enterprises and is found to be in violation of the Drug House Ordinance.

    The latest police enforcement action originated from a traffic stop conducted by MPD Corporal Justin Harper Patrolman Thursday, August 23rd on the 100 block of North Raleigh Street.  Corporal Harper interviewed the driver, Timmie Meador, and occupant, Anthony Lamont Lott who both reside at 244 N. Queen Street.  The driver’s and occupant’s actions raised Corporal Harper’s suspicions and he was immediately assisted by MPD’s Canine Unit in order to conduct a further investigation.   Patrolman Ryan Fritz directed police canine Atlas to perform a “drug sniff” of the of the vehicle, which proved positive.

    The officers’ subsequent search revealed large quantities of illegal drugs and distribution paraphernalia which included:  3.4 grams of heroin, 5.9 grams of cocaine, 35.3 grams of marijuana, 20.7 grams of methamphetamine, a digital scale, and packaging materials.  The estimated street value of the recovered drugs totaled approximately $9,000.  Meador, 57, and Lott, 49, were placed under arrest and charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Marijuana.  Both men have extensive histories of drug-related and other criminal offenses.  In addition, Officers Harper and Fritz seized $760 in suspect drug-money from the offenders.

    A skillful interrogation of the subjects resulted in further information establishing that the apartment at 244 N. Queen Street was the center of their on-going drug selling operation and that additional illegal drugs and a firearm were being stored in the residence.  Based upon this knowledge, Patrolman Fritz obtained a search warrant later on August 23rd for the Queen Street residence.

    MPD Patrolmen Aaron Miller and Michael Roberts joined Harper and Fritz and assisted in the entry and search of the apartment.  Inside, the officers found a small bag of marijuana, a .22 caliber pistol, and more evidence of the drug-selling operation.

    Deputy Chief George Swartwood recognized the excellent quality of the police work which shut down the latest drug-selling operation.  “The teamwork exhibited between our Patrol and Canine Units and their effective follow-up investigation was outstanding,” stated Swartwood.

    Mr. Wolfensberger is scheduled to appear before Municipal Judge Dale Buck on September 19, 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.  Written notification has been sent to the owner.

    The Queen Street rental property is the 33rd 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 32 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.