WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today announced multiple actions against several residential and commercial property owners to end concentrated drug- and firearm-related activity taking place at their buildings. The Office of Attorney General (OAG) reached court-ordered settlements that require owners of two apartment buildings and two businesses in Deanwood to put in place strong new building security measures. In four new lawsuits, OAG is seeking to ensure the owners secure four apartment buildings in Anacostia, Eckington and Petworth to end drug- and gun-related nuisances.
“Apartment buildings and store fronts can become havens for dangerous drug and firearm activity when building owners don’t put in place basic security measures to deter criminals,” said Attorney General Racine. “Today’s actions respond to ongoing community complaints about crime in their neighborhoods and hold neglectful property owners accountable for keeping District tenants and residents safe.”
Under the District’s Drug-, Firearm-, or Prostitution-Related Nuisance Abatement Act, OAG can take action against owners and operators whose properties are being used to sell or harbor illegal drugs, guns, or sex work. OAG investigates properties referred to it by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and community groups and brings enforcement actions when warranted to ensure that residents of all income levels, including those who may have limited means to relocate, are safe in their neighborhoods.
In March, AG Racine sued the owners of two apartment buildings and two commercial properties in Ward 7’s Deanwood neighborhood to discourage illegal activity at the buildings. As part of the settlements with OAG, the owners are required to take measures to secure their properties.
940 Division Avenue NE and 5216 Just Street NE
OAG sued Just Street and Division Avenue NE, LLC, the owner of two 13-unit apartment buildings at the corner of Just Street and Division Avenue NE in Ward 7. In the last two years, two murders have occurred on the property and MPD has responded to more than 700 calls for service and reported regular drug and firearm activity. The settlement with OAG requires the building owner to hire full-time security personnel at the properties, and to install and maintain new security cameras and more high-powered lighting. The owner also must ban from the premises non-residents who have participated in illegal activity.
The settlement agreement for the 940 Division Avenue NE and 5216 Just Street NE case is available at: http://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2018-08/940-Division-Ave-Settlement.pdf
1100 and 1102 Eastern Avenue NE
OAG sued the estate of Frederick B. Ince, the owner of two commercial properties adjacent to each other in the 1100 block of Eastern Avenue NE in Ward 7. The properties operate as Sunny Chicken & Fish and Uncle Lee’s Liquor. Since January 2017, MPD has responded to more than 180 calls for service and made at least 15 arrests at the properties for drug and firearm offenses. The consent order requires the owner to install and maintain new security cameras, high-wattage lights, and a six-foot-high fence closing off a parking lot where the illegal activity has been taking place. The owner also must bar from the premises individuals who have participated in illegal activity there in the past and hire security guards if the other measures do not stop the illegal activity on the property.
The consent order for the 1100 and 1102 Eastern Avenue NE case is available at: http://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2018-08/1100-and-1102-Eastern-Avenue-Consent-Order.pdf
AG Racine has filed four lawsuits against the owners of four apartment buildings to protect District residents and community members from drugs and other criminal activity.
1610 and 1614 R Street SE
In this case, OAG sued Everett Murtagh and Oxana Jourkiv (1610 R St SE), and Yordanos Asres (1614 R St SE), owners of two small apartment buildings in the Ward 8’s Anacostia neighborhood. The buildings are located half a block from Anacostia High School and a block from Kramer Middle School. OAG alleges MPD has repeatedly seized cocaine and drug paraphernalia, as well as PCP and unregistered firearms, at the properties. Further, since June of 2017, OAG alleges that the two properties have generated at least five search warrants, 30 arrests, and 75 calls for emergency service. The complaint alleges that the owners have not made sufficient efforts to address the drug and gun problems at the property, despite notices from OAG.
The 1610 R Street SE complaint is available at: http://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2018-08/1610-R-Street-Complaint.pdf
The 1614 R Street SE complaint is available at: http://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2018-08/1614-R-Street-Complaint.pdf
1613 Lincoln Road NE
In this case, OAG sued Christine Kelly, who owns and operates a four-unit apartment building in Ward 5’s Eckington neighborhood. OAG alleges the building has become a drug haven. Specifically, OAG’s complaint asserts that within the last 10 months, two search warrants have been executed at the property, resulting in the seizure of more than three vials of PCP, 234 grams of marijuana, and 68 zips of crack cocaine. The suit argues Kelly has not made sufficient efforts to address the drug and gun problems at the property, despite notices from OAG.
The 1613 Lincoln Road NE complaint is available at http://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2018-08/1613-Lincoln-Road-NE-Complaint.pdf
4019 Kansas Avenue NW
In this case, OAG sued Alemayehu Tarekegn and Armacho Azanaw, the owners of a four-unit apartment building in Ward 4’s Petworth neighborhood. OAG’s complaint alleges the property has become a heroin den. Among the violations, OAG alleges that within the last 8 months, two search warrants have been executed at the property, with MPD officers seizing 294 grams of heroin and more than $8,000 in cash. OAG also charges that community members have repeatedly complained to OAG and MPD about the property over the past year. The complaint alleges Tarekegn and Azanaw have not made sufficient efforts to address the drug problems at the property, despite notices from OAG.
The 4019 Kansas Avenue NW complaint is available at: http://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2018-08/4019-Kansas-Avenue-Complaint.pdf
OAG’s Housing and Community Justice Section works to end neighborhood drug, gun, and prostitution nuisances by enforcing the law and investigating complaints from the community and referrals from District government agencies. Learn how to report nuisance activity in your neighborhood here.