The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the successful resolution of drug-related problems at four more buildings with the full cooperation of the property owners.  The issues at 227  S. Illinois Street, 301 E. Burke Street, 212 Winchester Avenue, and 65 Porter Avenue have been successfully resolved after recent meetings between landlords and MPD leaders.

    227 S. Illinois Street had been the scene of six recent calls-for-service including a drug overdose, a death, and an armed home invasion.  On the evening of September 25th three men armed with a pistol and a shotgun forced their way into the house and held the residents at gunpoint while they searched the home.  Police believe that the offenders were looking for money or drugs.  The subjects are being identified and arrest warrants will be pending.

    Yesterday Mr. Tim Powell, property manager for owner Scott Batt, sat down with Chief Maury Richards and Deputy Chief George Swartwood to discuss ways to solve the problem on South Illinois Street.  Mr. Powell took immediate action and filed a wrongful occupation action to evict the problem tenant, Angela Murray.  “We appreciate the sincere concern by Scott Batt and Tim Powell to fix these issues and are very impressed with how quickly they moved to take action,” Swartwood stated.

    Last week, Chief Richards and Deputy Chief Swartwood met with Mr. Carlos Niederhauser, the owner of 212 Winchester Avenue and 301 E. Burke Street.  Both properties had been the locations of Drug House Ordinance violations in 2017.  Richards called for the meeting after observing that the calls-for-service at both buildings were slowly increasing even after invoking the ordinance’s Orders of Abatement.  “The Drug House Ordinance has reduced police service calls by 90% at almost every location,” stated Chief Richards.  “Repeat call-for-service activity is something we monitor very closely.  So, when we observed that we weren’t getting the same level of results at these two locations, we met with Mr. Niederhauser to figure out what the problems were and how to fix them.  We found that on Winchester Avenue, the issue was not the new tenant, but with trespassers who were coming from the   7-11 parking lot across the street.  Carlos has posted “No Trespassing” signs on the property and we have met with 7-11 management to ensure that they step up to do their share to reduce the problem.”

    The problem at 301 E. Burke Street however, was traced directly to the tenant responsible for multiple calls for the police including disturbances, criminal damage to property, domestic batteries, and a child death.  After the meeting, Niederhauser took immediate action to evict the tenant, Brittany Parrish.  As a result of her criminal activity, Parrish has been arrested and charged with felony child neglect, is facing probation revocation for a previous drug-selling conviction, and has multiple warrants pending.  Police records show that Brittany Parish was one of the tenants arrested for selling drugs from the MPD’s first successful Drug House case on Faulkner Avenue in 2016.  “Mr. Niederhauser was extremely cooperative and wasted no time in acting to remove the problem at 301 E. Burke Street and will be tightening up his background checks in the future,” stated Richards.

    The drug problem at 65 Porter Avenue has also been successfully abated.  Ms. Cathy Dodson immediately moved to evict tenant Andrew Golden, after he allowed drugs to be sold from his residence.  On September 27th, MPD Patrolman Chris Williamson obtained a search warrant and arrested three men for selling drugs from the apartment.  Taken into custody and charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Marijuana were Dwayne Eric Palmer, 29; Tereef Laron Dickerson, 26; and Dashen Jabar Duker, 28.  Warrants for Andrew Golden are pending.

    The arrests resulted in the invoking of the Drug House Ordinance and Ms. Dodson acted immediately to put the property in full compliance.  Deputy Chief Swartwood recognized the quick response and support from Ms. Dodson.  “Cathy Dodson and our Housing Authority have always been great friends and partners of MPD.  Cathy is a responsible and proactive property manager who really cares about our city.”

    Chief Richards stated that, “These successes were all about teamwork and are great examples of the type of cooperation we need between property owners, police, and the community.  Scott Batt, Carlos Niederhauser, and Cathy Dodson did everything we asked to abate these problems and will work to prevent them from recurring in the future.  They will be monitoring activity on their properties and conducting strict and thorough background checks on new tenants.  MPD is committed to either locking up every drug dealer in Martinsburg or running them out of our town.  We want to work with all landlords who choose to be part of the solution and help make Martinsburg a better place for decent families.”