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Police raid second property owned by landlord convicted under nuisance ordinance

March 9, 2018 GMT

The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — Less than 48 hours after a landlord pleaded guilty to violating Huntington’s drug house ordinance twice, another one of his properties was raided and two drug arrests were made.

Two people were accused of drug trafficking Wednesday evening after police raided an apartment in the 1100 block of Jefferson Avenue.

Jeffrey David Payne, 40, and Summer Marie Scott, 27, were each charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Payne, of South Point, Ohio, also was charged with a probation violation from Lincoln County, West Virginia, and Scott, of Huntington, was arrested on an active warrant.

Police had received complaints about drug and prostitution activity at the apartment for several weeks but acted Wednesday on information that helped them obtain a drug-related search warrant, according to a news release. They found distributable amounts of meth and some paraphernalia during the raid, as well as uncapped needles throughout the residence.

Detectives expected to make additional arrests. Property owner Bill Perdue will have 10 days to respond to a nuisance letter, and the Code Enforcement Unit was notified for a follow-up investigation.

Perdue pleaded guilty in municipal court Tuesday to two counts under Huntington’s nuisance property statute and agreed to pay two $500 fines for violations at a Washington Avenue residence that police had raided twice this year.

His residence in the 900 block of Washington Avenue had been raided twice in connection with drug activity, once on Jan. 3 and again on Feb. 20. The raids resulted in the arrest of 12 people, at least one of whom was twice arrested.

Under the nuisance property ordinance, a homeowner is issued a nuisance letter concerning criminal activity at the property when there is an arrest and evidence a felony was committed.

Properties where two or more felony incidents occur within a 12-month period are declared a public nuisance and the city issues an order for the eviction of the tenants involved in the illegal activities.

If the property owner fails to comply within the 30-day time frame, he or she is fined between $100 and $500 for every day the nuisance remains.

The ‘felony incidents’ are considered on a house-by-house basis, not by landlord, former Huntington Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli previously said.

Huntington Police Capt. Rocky Johnson previously said police were not attempting to target property owners under the statute. He said the statute was met for property owners who continue to rent to drug dealers without attempting to abate the problem.