Martinsburg Landlord Arrested for Drug House Violations

  • Martinsburg Landlord Arrested for Drug House Violations

    Martinsburg Landlord Arrested for Drug House Violations

    December 12, 2018

    Police Chief Maury Richards announced today the arrest by MPD officers of Codie J. Calvert, a Martinsburg landlord for violation of the City’s Drug and Gang House Ordinance.  Last September, Richards obtained an Order of Abatement to clean up the illegal drug activity on her rental property located at 487 E. Burke Street.  The property owner had repeatedly refused to comply with the City Magistrate’s Order to abate the nuisance.  On September 5th, Kyle Simmons, Calvert’s tenant, was arrested for running a drug-dealing operation at 487 E. Burke Street.  Simmons was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin and Methamphetamine.  Instead of seeking to evict him, Calvert allowed Simmons to continue living in the house.  On November 27th he was arrested there again by the police during a domestic-related dispute.

    This morning, after Calvert failed to attend a Drug House hearing for a second time, Municipal Judge Dale Buck issued a bench warrant for her arrest.  Calvert was placed in custody this afternoon by Sergeant Justin Darby.  In addition to the Drug House Ordinance Violation, Calvert was also charged with a Building Permit Violation, Shoplifting, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and two counts of Failure to Appear.  Ms. Calvert’s bond has been set at $7,188.  She is presently in the Eastern Regional Jail and scheduled to appear in court to answer the charges on December 17, 2018.

    Martinsburg’s Drug House Ordinance includes penalties for property owners found in violation but who fail to take action to abate the nuisance within 30 days of notification.  A fine may be assessed by the Municipal Court of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 for each day that the property owner is in violation.  Calvert has been in violation for 56 days and faces a potential fine of $5,600 to $56,000.

    Chief Richards stated that, “This is a very serious situation.  There have been 10 calls-for-service from this location after the initial drug arrest and it’s disrupting the neighborhood.  This is unacceptable.  MPD will not rest until we’ve totally cleaned up this problem.” The Martinsburg Chief noted that many neighbors on the block of 400 East Burke Street have been attending court hearings, writing letters, and fully supporting the actions of MPD to shut down this drug house.  “The commitment and solid support from neighbors on this block have been fantastic.  Seeing residents standing up for their neighborhood like this is very powerful,” stated Richards.  “The Martinsburg Police Department is going to lock up every drug-dealer and shut down every drug house that we can find.  Every decent family in Martinsburg deserves to live on a block free of drug-dealers and drug houses.  I promise that we will shut this one down too.”

    Deputy Chief George Swartwood said, “The Martinsburg Drug House Ordinance is an outstanding tool in preventing and deterring crime and helping improve the “Quality of Life” in our neighborhoods—one block at a time.  It’s reduced repeat police calls-for-service at these locations by 90%.  Shutting down the drug house on 487 E. Burke Street is taking a little longer than what we’re used to, but it will be another shining example of the effectiveness of our ordinance.”

    Chief Richards observed that, “MPD has shut down 38 drug houses under our ordinance, but this is the first time that we have not received the full and willing compliance of a landlord—but that’s why the Drug House Ordinance has teeth.  We want responsible landlords on our team, but for the ones that don’t want to be part of the solution, we can take another route.  Drug houses will simply not be tolerated in our town.”