COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The City of Columbus is shuttering a house in Linden it said has “extensive connections to drug and sex trafficking.”
The house at 2903 Azelda St. was declared a nuisance Thursday, and its occupants were ordered to immediately leave the property, after a months-long investigation into drug trafficking and prostitution at the residence. In the past two years, Columbus police have responded to nearly two dozen calls for service at the residence, including for shots fired and accidental overdoses.
“Linden residents deserve better, they deserve a neighborhood where they can feel safe and secure raising their families, and we’re a step closer to that reality after shutting this property down,” Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said in a press release.
According to the court order, investigations into residents at the property began in February 2022, with detectives seeking information on multiple people they believed were operating a large-scale drug and sex trafficking ring at another Linden property. After serving a search warrant at that property, police were told by confidential sources that the trafficking ring had moved operations to the house on Azelda Street.
In August 2022, police on patrol in the neighborhood were flagged down by a woman who said she was robbed by a man who sells drugs at the property. The next day, Columbus police received a report that multiple people were selling “about an ounce of crack cocaine and fentanyl” daily from the residence.
Detectives watched the house multiple times from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, reportedly seeing hundreds of people entering and exiting the property. Days later, police executed a search warrant on the property and seized fentanyl, cocaine, marijuana, pills and a gun, totaling $10,000 in street value. Police sent a nuisance abatement warning to the owners on Oct. 13.
Police executed a second search warrant in February, yielding the following:
- 25g of fentanyl
- 2.6g of crack cocaine
- 25g of cocaine
- 296 pills
Police also recovered drug paraphernalia, multiple guns and ammunition.
Multiple residents of the property face criminal charges, including Jerome and Jervon Lenor, who were the targets of the search warrants.
Jerome Lenor, 49, is charged with possession of controlled substances and will be arraigned in Franklin County Municipal Court at 9 a.m. Friday. Jervon Lenor, 30, was arrested on Feb. 15 on charges of drug trafficking, drug possession and having weapons under disability, all felonies. He posted his bond on Feb. 16.
The court found that the typical notice given to parties when a judgment has been issued should be waived in this case as it could result in “destruction, concealment or removal of contraband, illegal narcotics or property” and could create a serious risk of harm to law and code enforcement officials tasked with boarding up the property.
The case against the property will continue in court, with a preliminary hearing on the city’s request for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief scheduled for April 10 at 9 a.m.