City attorney takes action against two properties on the Hilltop

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Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein announced that the city of Columbus obtained emergency court orders to take action against two westside properties just blocks from each other in the Hilltop neighborhood. According to Klein, the properties have a history of drug-related activity and had been the scenes of multiple calls for service in recent months.

The city obtained preliminary injunctions against properties located at 292 Columbian Ave. and 569 S. Wheatland Ave., with Columbus Police executing an order to board up the Wheatland property.

“Children and families should not have to worry about violent crime and dangerous drug houses in their neighborhoods. That’s why the city continues to act aggressively to shut down drug houses, target drug trafficking and keep residents safe,” said Klein.

According to court documents, CPD and CFD were dispatched to the Columbian Avenue premises on Jan. 7, 2020 on report of an overdose. CPD and CFD responded to another overdose report on Nov. 13, 2020, where a victim was pronounced deceased shortly after officers arrived.

On Aug. 5, 2021, Whitehall police executed a search warrant at the premises, locating firearms, trafficking paraphernalia, burner phones and cash at the property. Detectives also impounded a vehicle associated with suspects and located more firearms.

On Sept. 9, 2021, Whitehall Police and CPD SWAT executed another warrant at the premises, locating crack cocaine and fentanyl, thousands of dollars in cash, multiple cell phones, a digital scale, a ski mask and a firearm at the property.

On Nov. 2, 2021, CPD responded to a Shotspotter alert in the area, and witnesses identified the Columbian Avenue property as the intended target of a drive by shooting.

According to court documents, Columbus police initiated an undercover investigation of the Wheatland Avenue premises in November 2021, with CPD Investigative Tactical (INTAC) detectives conducting controlled purchases of crack cocaine on multiple occasions.

On Nov. 15, 2021 INTAC detectives, with the assistance of a confidential informant, conducted a controlled purchase of crack cocaine at the premises. Again on Nov. 15, CPD INTAC detectives conducted another covert purchase of crack cocaine at the premises.

On Nov. 16, CPD INTAC detectives, with the assistance of a confidential informant, conducted a controlled purchase of crack cocaine at the premises. That same day, CPD INTAC detectives executed a search warrant on the premises, but no additional narcotics were found inside.

CPD responded to multiple calls for service to the property from November 2021 to January of 2022, including multiple reported robberies at the premises.

“It’s distressing to know that crack cocaine and fentanyl were being sold at these properties so close to a number of westside parks, community centers and churches – the heart of our community,” said Assistant City Attorney Zach Gwin, who is the zone initiative attorney for the city’s westside. “We want to thank the Columbus Division of Police and Whitehall Police, and hope these court rulings provide relief to area residents as we continue our efforts to clean up dangerous drug houses that threaten our community.”

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