Columbus City Attorney gets court order to shutter west side house described as ‘drug fortress’

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus City Attorney’s Office announced Monday that it has secured a court order to shutter a west side alleged drug house.

According to Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, the property at 478 South Harris Avenue has been under covert police investigation since 2017.

Describing the property as a ‘drug fortress,’ Klein said was heavily fortified with steel reinforced security doors, plexiglass windows equipped with chicken wire and security bars, a “large, vicious dog,” and several handguns and rifles.

It was the 14th suspected drug house shuttered by the city in 2018. The location is near two other properties recently shuttered by the city.

“The fact that crack cocaine and heroin was being dealt from three different locations—all within a couple of blocks of each other—just reinforces how dire the drug epidemic is in our community,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein.  “We especially need to commend the Columbus Division of Police for conducting all of these dangerous, overlapping investigations, while also acknowledging society’s need to diminish the drug supply by addressing the demand.”

According to the City Attorney’s office:

Columbus Police began investigating the property early last year on suspicion of illegal narcotics being sold from the premises.  Detectives conducted several covert purchases of heroin from a 40-year-old white male occupant of the premises, initially identified only as “Dale.”  On at least one occasion, this individual alleged that the heroin he was selling “had been mixed with fentanyl.”

Police subsequently raided the premises, seizing heroin, crack cocaine, mushrooms, suboxone, and over $2500 in cash.  After the second raid, police officials notified the owner at the time, Karen C. Adams, via certified letter of the illegal nuisance drug activity occurring at her property.  According to court records, Adams executed a quit claim deed three days after receiving the letter, transferring ownership of the property to her tenant, Dale Pine, Jr.

The illegal drug activity continued as detectives obtained several more covert purchases of heroin from Pine at the premises, including last month.

“If the guy allegedly dealing drugs from the premises was concerned enough to heavily fortify the property, one can only imagine how much of a threat it must have been to the surrounding area,” said Assistant City Attorney Zach Gwin.  “We’re pleased the judge granted our board-up request and hope that shutting this place down will provide some relief to all the law-abiding residents who live nearby.”

The Franklin County Environmental Court will hold a full hearing on the matter October 11.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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