Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 10 May 2011
On Wednesday, May 11th, Memphis police officers, U.S. Marshals and Assistant District Attorneys executed the court ordered temporary injunction, posting notices in and around the complex that prohibits non-tenants from loitering about the complex. New Horizon Apartments is a large apartment complex, with over nine hundred units. Previously known as the “Kingsgate Apartments”, the complex, (located southeast of the intersection of Millbranch and Winchester), is within one and a half miles of eight Memphis public schools, including a satellite campus of Southwest Tennessee Community College.
The District Attorney General’s Office filed a public nuisance petition against the complex’s owners, Monterra Park LLC, in Division Fourteen, Shelby County Environmental Court, (Judge Larry Potter), identifying the complex as “an uncontrolled danger and a nuisance.” The owner is listed as Wendell Jacobsen, of Monterra Park, LLC, located in Fountain Green, Utah. Monterra Park, LLC has been ordered to appear before Shelby County Environmental Court on May 16th, 2011 to answer the petition. The temporary injunction resulted from the five month investigation conducted by the Memphis Police Department’s Organized Crime Unit, the Shelby County District Attorney General Office’s Gang & Narcotics Unit, and the U.S. Marshal Service’s West Tennessee District.
“Everyone deserves a safe place to sleep,” said District Attorney Amy Weirich. “If you manage your property, or conduct yourself contrary to that basic principle, you leave us no choice but to stop you.”
The petition filed against New Horizon indicates that between November, 2010 and March 2011, Memphis police officers responded to 875 calls for service in the complex. The calls included complaints of shootings, assaults, robberies, armed parties, gang fights and other criminal activities. There were 32 aggravated assaults, 61 burglaries, and seven car thefts occurring in the complex during this period. On April 1st, 2011, a one year old child was shot in the leg while sitting with his mother in their apartment within the complex. Investigators have made numerous arrests for illegal guns and drugs, and have seized cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana at locations throughout the complex. Numerous reports have been filed regarding gang members brandishing and firing assault rifles and other weapons. During the period of investigation, officers witnessed several different gangs openly operating and congregating inside the complex. These gang affiliations include Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, Crips and a gang called the “Kingsgate Mafia.”
“The Memphis Police Department and its officers are committed to improving the safety of our citizens and our community,” said Director Toney Armstrong. “We will continue our efforts against criminal activity. This includes property owners who allow properties to fall prey to criminal influences.”
The U.S. Marshal’s Service’s Western Tennessee District assisted Memphis Police in the identification and apprehension of several fugitives known to frequent in the complex.
“The Deputy Marshals of the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force assigned to the Western District of Tennessee are pleased to assist all local law enforcement agencies in these operations,” said U.S. Marshal Jeffrey Holt, Western District of Tennessee. “Our operations here included arrests of several dangerous fugitives. These fugitives will now be off the streets and out of this complex.”
As a result of investigations by the Memphis Police Department since the start of Operation Blue CRUSH™, the D.A.’s Office has filed nuisance actions against the owners of more than 200 properties, both residential and businesses. Some nuisance actions have resulted in permanent closure of the properties. Others have reopened under consent orders to alleviate the nuisance.
Tennessee’s nuisance law states that the District Attorney General has authority to bring a civil action against any establishment deemed a nuisance. The statute defines a nuisance, in part, as “any place in or upon which… unlawful sale of any regulated legend drug, narcotic or other controlled substance…quarrelling, drunkenness, fighting, or breaches of the peace are carried on or permitted.”
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