Pubdate: Sat, 09 Mar 2002
Source: Florence Times Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2002 Times Daily
Author: Emilio Sahurie
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)


SHEFFIELD - Police are considering using a state law to seize a small 
apartment complex where they have investigated two drug complaints in the 
past two months.

Serving a search warrant Thursday night, officers discovered about one 
ounce of cocaine in one unit, said Sheffield Police detective Sgt. Greg Ray.

Both powder and the rock form of the drug, crack cocaine, were found in one 
apartment in the 500 block of Ninth Street.

"This is the second time in about two months we have served a warrant at 
this apartment complex," Ray said. "It's continuing to be a problem."

The cases occurred in different apartments.

The resident of the apartment searched on Thursday was not at home at the 
time of the search, but police have obtained a warrant charging him with 
trafficking cocaine. Digital scales, razor blades and small plastic bags 
also were found in the apartment, Ray said.

Authorities have not released his name.

The owner of the apartment complex was previously warned by police to clean 
up the problem, Ray said. A letter may be sent to the landlord warning that 
the police may begin the process to seize the property.

Sheffield police have already used a drug nuisance abatement law to 
pressure property owners to avoid renting to drug dealers, said Sheffield 
Police Chief Doug Aycock. In the past, one family was forced to move 
because of multiple drug problems at their house, he said.

Aycock said there are two or three buildings where police are considering 
applying the seizure law. Typically, landlords make changes before the 
cases reach the courts, he said.

"It was designed for larger cities," Aycock said. "But any community can 
have a problem where you have a crack dealer living in a neighborhood."
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