City shuts down apartment unit after repeated drug, prostitution complaints

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – City Attorney Zach Klein said an apartment unit on the west side was shut down due to continuous criminal activity. They made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.

According to Klein, the city secured an emergency court order to board up a four-unit apartment building that was being used for a drug and prostitution ring near the 600 block of Racine Avenue.

According to court documents, the property originally came to the attention of Columbus narcotics detectives in August 2019 after patrol officers responded to a drug overdose.

Officers were dispatched to the premises several other times throughout the rest of 2019 for disturbances that included domestic violence, assault and burglary.

In addition, local authorities were receiving complaints from the residents in the area dating from to Jan. 23, 2020 to December 21, 2020.

“This complaint illustrates the extensive investigative effort that goes into each of our nuisance cases,” said Klein. “In this instance, we were laser focused and targeted the single unit involved in criminal conduct. Shutting down the entire building could have resulted in the displacement of innocent people. It’s important that we focus on neighborhood safety for all residents.”

He said both the Columbus Division of Police and the Franklin County Sheriff’s office were both involved in the investigation process. 

“It’s important for us to distinguish between the individuals suffering from addiction and the drug dealers who prey upon them,” said Assistant City Attorney Zach Gwin, who is the Zone Initiative attorney for the city’s West Side.  “In the constant balance between supply and demand, we will continue to go after those who are providing these dangerous narcotics, but we also have to do everything we can to help people with substance abuse issues get the treatment they need.”

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