Police raid apartment building suspected of being drug den

Arrests made

no weapons or narcotics caches seen

April 06, 2000|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Across the street from Baltimore's school headquarters, 50 law-enforcement officers waged a carefully orchestrated raid on an apartment building that police say had become a den of illegal drug use and trafficking.

Officials from the Baltimore police, the sheriff's office and the municipal housing and education departments flooded the Boundary Square Apartments in the 300 block of E. North Ave. yesterday morning in what authorities said was an effort to "restore order" to the 67-unit property.

Police made three arrests. No names or charges were available late yesterday.

"Today, we are at risk of losing Boundary Square Apartments. We're going to try to restore this key asset to the community," said Patricia J. Payne, the city's housing commissioner.

Officials said the drug trade in Boundary Square, a mix of market-rate and Section 8 housing, has not affected people or property at school headquarters.

Police gave tenants 48 hours' notice before canvassing the apartments. They said no weapons or significant quantities of drugs were seen. Social workers were brought into the building, and five residents voluntarily agreed to undergo drug treatment.

A key purpose of the search was to drive out nonresidents. J. Thomas Dowling III, president of the company that owns the property, said the building's rightful occupants -- many of whom suffer from mental illness, drug addiction or the human immunodeficiency virus -- were often afraid to re-enter their apartments.

"They get preyed upon by the drug dealers in the community," Dowling said.

Housing officials said 13 nonresidents were detained in the building's lobby and checked for outstanding warrants.

Police will closely monitor the building during the next 30 days, and all residents will be issued photo identification cards.

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