Home, Property Seizures In Drug Cases May Become More Common

By the County Times Staff Writers

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (June 26, 2008)—The commander of the vice/narcotics unit of the St. Mary’s County Bureau of Criminal Investigations says that several home and property seizures are in the works in an effort to combat drug dealers and their local operations.

One such home is a suspected crack house on Colton’s Point Road in Avenue that was raided several weeks ago but, according to police has been a chronic problem spot in that community for nearly two decades.

“We’re in the process of filing on that home for seizure and forfeiture,” said Lt. Daniel Alioto, adding that the house could only be seized through court action. “We’re prepared to go to trial.”

Alioto said that the house most recently raided was just one example of attempts to take away the base of operations of suspected drug dealers through common nuisance laws; it’s a strategy that narcotics officers plan to use more, Alioto said.

“The way we’re policing narcotics has changed,” he said. “[Nuisances created by reputed drug houses] just can’t go on.

“If it’s worth something to them, it’s worth something to us and we’re taking it if we can. The days of them watching their five plasma screen TVs thinking they’ve got it easy are over.”

Alioto said that one other drug house has been seized so far by the county, and one is already in the process. There are two or three other properties that narcotics officers are also looking into for possible seizure, Alioto said.

Alioto said that State’s Attorney Richard Fritz has been “phenomenal” in supporting vice/narcotics efforts to seize properties they claim constitute a common nuisance.

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