UPDATE: Emphasis on Huntington's West Side Leads to Drug Arrests

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 3/12/14 @ 4:55 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Two men from Columbus, Ohio, have been arrested following a drug raid on Huntington's West End Tuesday night.

Huntington Police Department's Special Emphasis Unit, along with Huntington's Violent Crime and Federal Drug Task Force, executed a search warrant in the 1700 block of Jefferson Avenue after getting more than 20 tips from the public.

Investigators tell WSAZ.com they expected to find heroin, but instead found something else.

"We were kind of surprised," Huntington Police Capt. Rocky Johnson said. "We assumed that's what we would find, but we ended up with no heroin and almost a pound of crack. A mix of crack and powdered cocaine."

Investigators say they also found 20 Loritab pills, two handguns, thousands of dollars in cash and other items used for selling drugs.

Police arrested Sentell James Hicks, 19, and Ricky Lee Hogan, 34. They both are from Columbus, and both now face charges for drug possession. Investigators expect to make more arrests, thanks to information they have pulled from cell phones found during the raid.

Neighbors in the area say they've had enough.

"I have lived here 17 years, and I say the last 10 years it has gone down hill with more out of state people," Dawn Drown said.

Drown said the drug activity in the area is overwhelming.

"I raise my 12-year-old grandson, he's special needs," Drown said. "I have been known to wear my gun on my side catching fireflies. We should not have to live like this. I'm done."

Investigators say this bust was all thanks to increased drug enforcement in Huntington's West End. It's all part of the River to Rail initiative which is a multi-pronged effort using law enforcement, code enforcement, economic and community development to revitalize the neighborhood.

Huntington Police tell WSAZ.com any time they make a drug raid like this, they now follow up by sending the landlord a nuisance property notification letter. The landlord will then have 10 days to prove to police how they're going to solve the problem.

Johnson said that usually means evicting the tenant in hopes of keeping drug activity from returning to the same area.



ORIGINAL STORY 3/12/14 10:22 a.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Heightened awareness on Huntington's West End has led to a major drug bust.

The Huntington Police Department's Special Emphasis Unit, along with members of the Huntington Violent Crime and Federal Drug Task Force executed a search warrant in the 1700 block of Jefferson Avenue around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Police say they recovered $48,000 worth of powder cocaine and crack cocaine, two handguns, 20 hydrocodone pills, $5000 in cash, scales, and packaging materials consistent with the distribution of sale of drugs.

Sentell James Hicks 19, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Ricky Lee Hogan, 34, of Columbus, was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Investigators say the landlord of the residence will be issued a nuisance letter for corrective action. Code enforcement officers will also be notified for a follow-up investigation, according to Capt. Rocky Johnson, commander of the Special Investigations Bureau.

Drug enforcement has been increased in the West End the past several months, due to the River to Rail Initiative, a multi-pronged effort using law enforcement, code enforcement, economic and community development to revitalize the neighborhood.


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