Residents hope legal action against drug suspects works State's attorney sues 5 in Armistead Gardens

November 09, 1995|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Peter Hermann contributed to this article.

Sean Roberts is realistic about his Armistead Gardens community of small rowhouses in a semi-isolated section of northeast Baltimore.

"It certainly isn't the best neighborhood, but it's not the worst," Mr. Roberts said yesterday as the city's police commissioner stood nearby. "We don't want it to get any worse." He said the community is threatened by a budding drug trade and is hoping that a legal crackdown by Baltimore police and prosecutors can nip the problem.

Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier and Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy held a news conference at the 1,500-home complex yesterday to announce the filing of civil lawsuits against five residents under the state's nuisance abatement law.

Mr. Frazier said his department will document drug dealing at homes. Other officials said tenants selling drugs from the homes could be evicted and those who sublease their homes to dealers could lose their leases through civil procedures under the law.

Armistead Gardens is owned by tenants, who hold shares in a corporation and have 99-year leases to their units. Some tenants sublease their homes, said Edward Hitchcock, a lawyer for the Armistead Homes Corp.

"We're not going to get to the point where residents are held hostage by gunfire and drug dealing," Mr. Hitchcock said. "We're telling people that we will take steps to break your lease and prevent you from coming back to the property for any purpose."

Ms. Jessamy said her office has filed nearly 700 civil complaints under the nuisance abatement act since it went into effect in 1991. She said 369 have resulted in evictions of tenants or agreements with landlords not to rent to drug dealers.

Her office has filed civil lawsuits against Julie Ann Faidley and Mark Oran Davis Sr. of the 5100 block of Wright Ave.; Mark Oran Davis Jr. of the 900 block of Rodman Way; and Thoyt Dean Hackney and Michael Kornarski of the 1100 block of Metzgar Way.

Except for the junior Mr. Davis, all of the defendants have been convicted of drug possession. In each case leading to convictions, however, officers said they bought drugs or saw the defendants sell drugs.

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