MPD Shuts Down N. Raleigh Street Drug House Identified as “Problem Building”

  • MPD Shuts Down N. Raleigh Street Drug House Identified as “Problem Building”

    MPD Shuts Down N. Raleigh Street Drug House Identified as “Problem Building”

    The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the initiation of another case under the city’s “Drug House Ordinance” for the rental property at 207 North Raleigh Street, after the May 26, 2019 drug investigation and arrest by MPD Patrol officers at the multi-unit apartment building.

    Chief Richards appeared before Martinsburg Chief Magistrate Ella Buckner to obtain an Order of Abatement to address the illegal drug activity documented at the Raleigh Street location.  The owner of the rental property has been identified as Jayson Jones of Inwood and found to be in violation of the Drug House Ordinance.  Richards described Jones’s rental property as a “problem building” with 39 calls for police service during the past 12 months.

    Early Sunday morning, Patrolmen Rodney Crawford and Nashon Cook responded to a trespassing complaint at the eight-unit building and found numerous people inside Apartment 5.  Corporal Eric Neely quickly arrived on the scene to back up Officers Crawford and Cook.  While securing the apartment, the MPD officers found John Laurin, 22, in bed and asleep.  The officers interviewed Laurin and found him to be in possession of drug paraphernalia and 5.6 grams of heroin with an estimated street value of $1,120.  The heroin was packaged in 16 small plastic baggies for sale and distribution.  Laurin was placed under arrest and charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin.  Officers also seized $340 in suspected drug-money.

    Police records show that since May 2018, the apartment building has been the source of 39 calls for police service including reports of drug overdoses, threats, burglaries, thefts, trespassing, domestic disturbances, suspected drug activity, noise disturbances, and wanted persons.  “This building is a mess.  How can a responsible landlord sit back and see 39 calls-for-police-service to his building in a year and not lift a finger to fix it?” Chief Richards asked.  “A problem building like this is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.  We will be demanding that Mr. Jones present a plan to the court on how he intends to clean up his property,” stated Richards.

    Deputy Chief George Swartwood recognized the proactive police work and teamwork of the three MPD Patrol officers who shut down the latest drug house.  “Patrolman Rodney Crawford, Patrolman Nashon Cook, and Corporal Eric Neely did an outstanding job in going the extra mile in this successful investigation and arrest,” he stated.  “This is exactly what our Drug House Ordinance was designed to do.  MPD will not stop arresting drug dealers and we will continue to clean up our community, one block at a time,” Swartwood added.

    Jayson Jones is scheduled to appear before Municipal Judge Dale Buck on July 10, 2019 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.

    As part of the Martinsburg Police Department’s community-policing strategy, the Drug House Ordinance is a powerful drug-fighting tool.  Since its adoption in April, 2016, MPD has utilized the ordinance to shut down 43 drug houses.  Repeat calls-for-service at these locations have been reduced by 90%.  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.  The Martinsburg Drug House Ordinance applies to owners of both rental and owner-occupied property.